ma·​chine-gun | \ mə-ˈshēn-ˌgən How to pronounce machine-gun (audio) \

Definition of machine-gun

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: characterized by rapidity and sharpness : rapid-fire a comic's machine-gun delivery


machine-gunned; machine-gunning; machine-guns

Definition of machine-gun (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to shoot at, wound, or kill (someone or something) with a machine gun machine-gunned a marauding gang of terrorists outside the U.S. embassy …— Terry Eagleton A few years later someone machine-gunned to death the prosecutor who wanted to try the group for killing the soldiers.— Paul Berman

machine gun

plural machine guns

Definition of machine gun (Entry 3 of 3)

: a gun for sustained rapid fire that uses bullets broadly : an automatic weapon

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Other Words from machine-gun


machine gunner or less commonly machine-gunner noun, plural machine gunners also machine-gunners
These battalions were composed of the hardened infantrymen—riflemen, machine gunners, grenadiers, and mortarmen—who carried the main burden of the war. — Shelby L. Stanton

Examples of machine-gun in a Sentence

Noun They heard the sound of machine-gun fire.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An assault rifle is fully automatic, a machine gun. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "What is an 'assault weapon'?," 30 Mar. 2021 The need for such aerial tank killers was learned the hard way during the Vietnam War when the only combat helicopters then available were little more than civilian models painted olive drab and fitted with a light-caliber machine gun. Sheldon M. Gallager, Popular Mechanics, "PM Meets the AH-64 Apache: The Helo That Fights Back," 25 Mar. 2021 Nope, because there’s Batman, hiding behind a burning car and holding a machine gun! Ryan Britt, Vulture, "That Snyder Cut Epilogue, Explained," 18 Mar. 2021 His relatives found the corpses of four militants — along with a machine gun — in a tunnel dug in one of the rooms. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Pope Francis arrives in Iraq, where beleaguered Christians are struggling to hold on," 5 Mar. 2021 Jordyn Johnson, 24, is also charged in North Texas with having a Glock that had been converted into a machine gun, court records show. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "Feds crack down on cheap parts, sold online, that illegally turn pistols into machine guns," 17 Feb. 2021 The troops behind the machine gun reportedly waved him back, yelling that the war was over. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "Yes to Masks. No to Parties. 2021 Will Be a Lot Like 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Thinking that the roar of the engines will hide him from any embarrassment or shame, this gentleman waits until takeoff, and then passes gas with the subtleness of a machine gun. Globe Staff,, "You think you miss everything about travel. I’m here to remind you that it’s not always glamorous," 17 Feb. 2021 In addition to his musical duties, Lt. Europe commanded a machine gun company. Radhika Chalasani, ABC News, "Photos: A look back at the courageous Harlem Hellfighters of WWI," 25 Feb. 2021

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

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First Known Use of machine-gun


1906, in the meaning defined above


1894, in the meaning defined above


1867, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for machine-gun

Time Traveler

The first known use of machine-gun was in 1867

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Statistics for machine-gun

Cite this Entry

“Machine-gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for machine-gun



English Language Learners Definition of machine-gun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

informal : very quick

machine gun


English Language Learners Definition of machine gun (Entry 2 of 2)

: a gun that is able to shoot many bullets very quickly one after the other

machine gun


Kids Definition of machine gun

: a gun that fires bullets continuously and rapidly

More from Merriam-Webster on machine-gun

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for machine-gun

Nglish: Translation of machine-gun for Spanish Speakers

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