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

Officer Bojan Samardzic reportedly pulled out his pistol, which was followed by another officer grabbing Brown’s left arm and still another kneeing Brown in the groin. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Inside Sterling Brown’s compelling lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and City of Milwaukee," 19 June 2018 The driver then pointed his pistol at Hill and scared him off, the report stated. Tiffini Theisen, OrlandoSentinel.com, "2 Florida drivers scare off knife-armed attempted carjacker with guns, police say," 11 June 2018 Cook County Judge Joseph Claps, center, was hit with a misdemeanor gun charge after sheriff’s deputies saw him drop a pistol last week in the lobby of the county’s main criminal courthouse, authorities said. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Judge who dropped gun in courthouse to remain on administrative duties," 11 July 2018 Panicked shouts drowned her out, and the camera turned from the priest to Sealy, about 15 feet from the gazebo, brandishing what appeared to be a pistol at the crowd. Avi Selk, BostonGlobe.com, "Man arrested after shouting ‘womp, womp’ and pulling a gun on immigration protesters," 1 July 2018 Barcenas was shot by San Francisco police before, in 2012, in the Mission District, after allegedly pulling a Tec-9 assault pistol on current Assistant Chief Toney Chaplin, prompting Chaplin to fire. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "North Beach shooting renews scrutiny of SF officer’s use of force," 20 June 2018 That man jumped out of hiding when another neighbor aimed a pistol at the bush. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, "Neighbors describe chaotic scene after more than 50 immigrants found in truck," 13 June 2018 That’s when things further escalated, with Davis’ companion pulling a pistol out. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Georgia Teen With No Prior Record Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Stealing a Pair of Sneakers When He Was 15," 1 June 2018 Addy learned to draw a pistol from her holster and tuck the butt of a rifle into her cheek well. Molly Hennessy-fiske, latimes.com, "She's a YouTube sensation and NRA darling: Meet 9-year-old sharpshooter 'Alpha Addy'," 6 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

11 Oct 2018

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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

: 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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Comments on pistol

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