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 López Obrador’s government came under heavy domestic criticism for releasing the son after gunmen took soldiers hostage and waged open battle in the streets for hours, with cartel foot soldiers patrolling with machine guns mounted in truck beds. Amy Guthrie, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mexico says Trump shows ‘solidarity’ after suspect freed," 19 Oct. 2019 Holmes, 41, was arrested on suspicion of several weapons charges, including possession of a machine gun, possession of an assault rifle, possession of a destructive device and possession of an explosive agent. Ashley Mcbride,, "Assault rifles, grenade launcher seized in Foster City man’s arrest," 25 June 2019 The founders certainly didn’t foresee the war machines guns are now. Thembi Ford, Essence, "Mass Shootings In America: We Have To Do Something About Guns," 8 Aug. 2019 There were new security barriers that were thrown up, there were military Humvees with .50-caliber machine guns on top, with soldiers manning them. Garrett M. Graff, Time, "What Happened on Capitol Hill on 9/11," 11 Sep. 2019 Prosecutors said Ajay Dhingra, 43, is charged with possessing a machine gun, two counts of making false statements to acquire a firearm and possessing a firearm after having been judged a mental defective or being committed to a mental institution. Fox News, "Houston man first to be indicted for bump stock possession since federal ban," 7 Sep. 2019 Jesse can use her powers to transform this pistol at will, turning it into a shotgun, a machine gun, a railgun, and other weapons. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Review: Control is Remedy’s best game yet—and a ray tracing masterpiece," 26 Aug. 2019 Of the German machine guns, each capable of firing thousands of rounds. Angela Charlton,, "75 years later, US World War II veterans say: Never forget," 24 Aug. 2019 Warren, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, has proposed an approach backed by gun safety groups like Giffords that would regulate assault-style weapons in a fashion similar to machine guns, which are rarely associated with crime. Benjy Sarlin, NBC News, "As Trump waffles, some Democrats talk up mandatory gun buybacks, licensing," 24 Aug. 2019

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.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on machine-gun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with machine-gun

Nglish: Translation of machine-gun for Spanish Speakers

Comments on machine-gun

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not agreeing with established beliefs

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