hand·​gun | \ ˈhan(d)-ˌgən \

Definition of handgun

: a firearm (such as a revolver or pistol) designed to be held and fired with one hand

Examples of handgun in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Then parliamentary committees pored over the privileges Mr. Benalla had accrued, including an apartment in central Paris, use of a government car, and a permit to carry a handgun. Stacy Meichtry, WSJ, "France’s Macron, Celebrated Abroad, Faces Isolation at Home," 9 Oct. 2018 Oklahoma approved a bill allowing permit holders to carry handguns while scouting. Ryan J. Foley, Fox News, "AP: Despite shootings, states return to familiar patterns," 26 Sep. 2018 Riggleman has also reportedly called for Virginians to be allowed to carry handguns without permits, despite the spate of mass shootings across the country. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Virginia Political Candidate Says Opponent Draws Bigfoot Porn, and That Shouldn't Matter," 1 Aug. 2018 Two males entered a liquor store with their faces partially covered; one carried a handgun. Washington Post, "Crime reports for Anne Arundel and Howard counties and for Annapolis," 12 July 2018 Major gun legislation has included prohibiting the sale of some assault weapons and granting law enforcement discretion over denying applications to wear or carry handguns. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland's strict gun laws could not prevent Capital Gazette shooting, spurring talk of changes," 2 July 2018 Ford faces charges of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, resisting law enforcement, and carrying a handgun without a license. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "'This is devastating to our family': Shooting victim's family prays for end to gun violence," 29 June 2018 Settlement: $6 million Tamir Rice, Cleveland, 2014 Tamir Rice, 12, was carrying a replica handgun in a public park when an onlooker reported him to 911. Timothy Williams, New York Times, "$16 Million vs. $4: In Fatal Police Shootings, Payouts Vary Widely," 28 June 2018 The witness told police that the man, later identified as Acosta, was carrying a handgun, the report said. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "Manchester Police Say East Hartford Man Beat Woman, Ditched Gun," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handgun.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of handgun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about handgun

Statistics for handgun

Last Updated

10 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handgun

The first known use of handgun was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for handgun



English Language Learners Definition of handgun

: a small gun (such as a revolver or a pistol) designed to be held and shot with one hand

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on handgun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handgun

Spanish Central: Translation of handgun

Nglish: Translation of handgun for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of handgun for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about handgun

Comments on handgun

What made you want to look up handgun? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!