pis·​tol | \ ˈpi-stᵊl How to pronounce pistol (audio) \

Definition of pistol

1 : a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel broadly : handgun
2 : a notably sharp, spirited, or energetic person

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Other Words from pistol

pistol transitive verb

Synonyms for pistol


dynamo, fireball, live wire

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Examples of pistol in a Sentence

a real pistol, she dances rings around the other performers

Recent Examples on the Web

The Army traditionally favors full-sized rifles or pistols, and now carbines. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Army Selects New Submachine Gun," 2 Apr. 2019 The gun was a semiautomatic pistol with 11 rounds of ammunition, the report said. Fox News, "Student brought gun, knives to school to feel 'powerful,' 'cool,' authorities say," 2 Oct. 2018 The War Department realized Singer’s pistols were of such high quality that the company was qualified to do more important work, and that Singer's expert machines abilities would have been wasted on mere handguns. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "When the Singer Sewing Machine Company Built the Best .45 Pistol Ever Made," 21 Sep. 2018 But on one dry desert afternoon in June,the Alabama education official aimed a 9 mm pistol at an armed teenager in a high school classroom during a shooting rampage. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "I went to a huge conference on school safety. No one wanted to talk about gun control.," 30 July 2018 The video shows what appears to be a man apparently armed with a rifle or pistol-grip shotgun brazenly walking up to the front door of the family's home. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Life is completely not normal’: Chugiak family’s life turned upside down by burglary," 12 July 2018 Kim and Brielle both documented the party on Snapchat while younger brother Kash was seen helping her unwrap the pistol that came wrapped in Princess Elena of Avalor wrapping paper. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Kim Zolciak Calls Out an Alleged Thief on Twitter — and Says She Caught It All on Camera," 14 Mar. 2018 An intoxicated bus driver carrying a loaded pistol while driving children to a Brookfield grade school was convicted by a jury on June 27 in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Brookfield bus driver was high, nearly crashed into ditch while transporting elementary students, jury finds," 29 June 2018 Pagourtzis was armed with a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol, Abbott said. USA TODAY, "Student kills 10 at Texas school, says he targeted kids he didn't like," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pistol.' 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 pistol

circa 1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pistol

Middle French pistole, from German, from Middle High German pischulle, from Czech píšt'ala, literally, pipe, fife; akin to Czech pištět to squeak

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Statistics for pistol

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for pistol

The first known use of pistol was circa 1560

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More Definitions for pistol



English Language Learners Definition of pistol

: a small gun made to be aimed and fired with one hand
US, informal : a person who has a lot of energy and spirit


pis·​tol | \ ˈpi-stᵊl How to pronounce pistol (audio) \

Kids Definition of pistol

: a small gun made to be aimed and fired with one hand

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More from Merriam-Webster on pistol

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pistol

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pistol

Spanish Central: Translation of pistol

Nglish: Translation of pistol for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pistol for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pistol

Comments on pistol

What made you want to look up pistol? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having no equal

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