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ma·​chine-gun mə-ˈshēn-ˌgən How to pronounce machine-gun (audio)
: characterized by rapidity and sharpness : rapid-fire
a comic's machine-gun delivery


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machine-gunned; machine-gunning; machine-guns

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 gunner noun
or less commonly machine-gunner
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

machine gun

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

Examples of machine-gun in a Sentence

Noun They heard the sound of machine-gun fire.
Recent Examples on the Web
That means every loudspeaker gets enough juice to make explosions, machine-gun fire, and screaming psycho-killers come to life in the comfort of a condominium. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 20 Mar. 2024 People were trapped in the open, incinerated, asphyxiated and strafed with machine-gun fire. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2024 The film’s fashion reputation preceded it; fans with temporary machine-gun tattoos mobbed the red carpet. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, The Atlantic, 10 Mar. 2024 Getting hooked on Hearn’s machine-gun delivery led to the Lakers becoming his favorite team. Scott Howard-Cooper., Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2024 The melody and Coriolanus’ calls to Lucy Gray come alive in the woods, prompting him to machine-gun the trees to stop the noise., 17 Nov. 2023 All morning, fighting could be heard throughout the area, most of it machine-gun fire and shelling, as Israeli troops advancing deeper into Gaza clashed with Hamas fighters. Patrick Kingsley Avishag Shaar-Yashuv, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2024 Its spine stretched from Winchester in New Haven, Connecticut, to Colt in Hartford to Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts, and north to machine-gun maker Saco Lowell in Maine. James Bandler, ProPublica, 21 Nov. 2023 Hundreds of thousands have fled to the south, leaving a silence broken only by the pop of machine-gun fire and the heavy thrum of Israeli tanks. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2023
As someone who grew up in the Dodgers’ family and now can’t stand the sight of them, who wants to beat them as Buddy Rich might machine-gun his snare drum. San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Feb. 2023
A week after graduating high school in 1942, Ms. McCormack got an engineering job at an Ohio defense plant manufacturing machine guns and shipping them overseas to Allied forces. Kayla Guo, New York Times, 10 Apr. 2024 In a tightly wound, entendre-replete, machine gun verse, Lamar fired back by refuting the designation and setting himself apart from his peers and former collaborators. Steven J. Horowitz, Variety, 25 Mar. 2024 Officers responding to shooting scenes were recovering more casings, despite the fact that machine guns have been banned at the federal and state level in some form since the 1930s, in the days of Tommy-gun-toting Chicago gangsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger. Kim Bellware, Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2024 After all, the technical legal issue before the court was not the Second Amendment and gun rights but rather a question of statutory meaning: do guns modified with bump stocks count as machine guns? Noah Feldman, The Mercury News, 9 Mar. 2024 His videos about weapons have gotten 557 million views on such topics as grenade launchers, Nazi machine guns and the gun used to kill Abraham Lincoln. David Ingram, NBC News, 7 Mar. 2024 The Supreme Court leans in favor of upholding a ban on bump stocks that enable rifles to work like machine guns. Anthony De Leon, Los Angeles Times, 29 Feb. 2024 The Justice Department argued that ATF's interpretation of the definition of machine gun is the correct and best one. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 28 Feb. 2024 Officers dressed in black uniforms with helmets and body armor walked up to Pierson carrying machine guns, ordering him into the back of their truck. The Courier-Journal, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'machine-gun.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1906, in the meaning defined above


1894, in the meaning defined above


1867, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of machine-gun was in 1867

Dictionary Entries Near machine-gun



machine gun

Cite this Entry

“Machine-gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

machine gun

: an automatic gun capable of continuous firing
machine-gun verb
machine gunner noun

More from Merriam-Webster on machine-gun

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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