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 The French naval policing boats Athos, which has a large machine gun on its front deck, and the unarmed Themis were sent to keep watch on waters between France and Jersey, French maritime authorities said. John Leicester, Anchorage Daily News, "Tensions flare between France and UK over Brexit fishing rules in English Channel," 6 May 2021 Hutt pleaded guilty in January of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a machine gun. William Thornton |, al, "Tuscaloosa man gets 6 year sentence on federal weapons charges," 29 Apr. 2021 It’s armed with a 30-millimeter cannon and 7.62-millimeter coaxial machine gun, a .50-caliber remote weapon system, and the Israeli Spike LR2 anti-tank missile system built into the turret. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "One of These Fighting Vehicles Could (Finally!) Replace the Army's M2 Bradley," 21 Apr. 2021 Dahlager made his first appearance in court Wednesday on federal charges of illegally possessing a machine gun. Andy Mannix, Star Tribune, "St. Cloud 'Boogaloo Bois' member charged with planning attack on Minnesota Capitol," 7 Apr. 2021 The shooting became so common in Guarero that pet parrots began imitating machine gun fire. New York Times, "Terrorist Group Steps Into Venezuela as Lawlessness Grows," 26 Apr. 2021 Like the advent of the gun, the crossbow, and the machine gun, the atomic bomb changed the shape of warfare. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Once Again, the Doomsday Clock Creeps Dangerously Close to Midnight," 27 Jan. 2021 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

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 16 May. 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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