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 To prepare for another strike, Marines set up mortar positions angled to the south, the direction from which the rockets came, and positioned an armored vehicle with a heavy machine gun near the base’s gate, which had been damaged. New York Times, "A Rocket Attack. Two Narratives. This Is What Happened.," 12 May 2020 Suspicion: Richmond Park Drive East Officers responded to the 444 Park apartments at 12:45 p.m. April 18 for a report of a male waving a machine gun in the parking lot. cleveland, "Two men warned for inducing panic regarding coronavirus: Richmond Heights Police Blotter," 23 Apr. 2020 Sonny Leggett, said a man wearing an Afghan military uniform fired a machine gun into a group of troops. Sig Christenson,, "One of San Antonio’s own killed in Afghan attack," 9 Feb. 2020 Contra Costa County prosecutors charged a 30-year-old man who barricaded himself inside a San Pablo home with possession of a machine gun and discharge of a firearm with gross negligence, officials said late Monday. Alejandro Serrano,, "SWAT team raid in San Pablo leads to multiple gun charges against man," 28 Jan. 2020 If mowing down velociraptors with machine guns sounds like your idea of a good time, keep an eye out for this one. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Microsoft reveals the first Xbox Series X games: Watch every trailer," 7 May 2020 Several small Iranian boats, armed with machine guns, make unsafe passes near the American ships, causing them to blow their horns. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Iranian Speed Boats Run Circles Around U.S. Navy Ships," 17 Apr. 2020 Rounding up anyone who looked like an Indian, soldiers herded them into town squares and then opened fire with machine guns. Michael Pollan, The Atlantic, "Capitalism’s Favorite Drug," 6 Apr. 2020 The planes dived toward them and fired machine guns. Jean Giono, Harper's Magazine, "Killing Time," 27 Apr. 2020

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 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for machine-gun


How to pronounce machine gun (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on machine-gun

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for machine-gun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with machine-gun

Nglish: Translation of machine-gun for Spanish Speakers

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