pis·​tol | \ ˈpi-stᵊl \

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

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 The Ann Arbor and Clio districts have adopted sweeping anti-weapon policies, despite a state law that allows certain licensed gun owners to openly carry a pistol on public school property. Ed White, Detroit Free Press, "School gun restrictions challenged in Michigan Supreme Court," 11 Apr. 2018 The measure would allow teachers or administrators to carry pistols on school grounds after completing a 40-hour training program, according to the state legislature's website. Dakin Andone, CNN, "A lawmaker's argument against arming teachers? Most are women and 'scared of guns'," 16 Mar. 2018 Once, the husband, suspecting his wife had hosted a secret visitor, pulled out a pistol and shot a chicken in the backyard as a warning to his wife. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Mexico’s New Focus to Stem Violent Culture: Children," 26 Jan. 2019 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Print subscribers get a password for your existing account here On the sixth such instruction, the man pushed the chair forward and stood up a few feet away from her, also holding a pistol. Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, "Teachers, school staff confront ‘shooter’ training drills," 29 June 2018 The incident began at 8:30 p.m. May 30, when witnesses said Johnson pointed a pistol at Robinson’s 22-year-old daughter at the apartments. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Man charged with murder in shooting death of woman in north Houston," 8 June 2018 Simmons later returned in an SUV with Taylor, who fired a pistol into a Ford Focus with Jones and Reed inside, according to the report. The Web Staff, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Sanford brothers guilty in slap fight that led to killing: report," 6 June 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

15 Feb 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 \

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

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