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

Authorities said DeWayne Craddock, 40, walked into the public works building Friday afternoon and used two .45-caliber pistols to shoot and kill a dozen people and injure others. Washington Post, "Virginia Beach employees return to work at municipal complex after mass shooting," 4 June 2019 Kicked out of the car and set upon by the white motorman and conductor, Caldwell shot his pistol twice, killing one of his attackers. Ursula Wolfe-rocca, Teen Vogue, "The Red Summer of 1919, Explained," 8 Apr. 2019 According to court documents cited by the Post-Dispatch, Sproling admitted to shooting Kirkwood and gave up his pistol. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Dispute over tools led to fatal shooting, police say," 27 Sep. 2018 Two 22-year-old men were fighting inside the Opry Mills Mall before one of them pulled out a pistol and fatally wounded the other. Washington Post, "Fatal shooting causes pandemonium in Tennessee mall," 5 May 2018 Jones walked into the lobby and, after wandering around for a few minutes, walked directly up to Plesec, pulled a pistol and shot him in the head, prosecutors said. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Man pleads guilty to slaying Cleveland Salvation Army worker, crime spree to avoid facing death penalty," 17 Apr. 2018 That’s when Bates pulled out the pistol and began to strike the clerk with it, witnesses and the clerk told police. Jared Gilmour, star-telegram, "7-Eleven clerk disarmed a pistol-wielding man by tossing him through a window, Texas cops say | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 29 Mar. 2018 The other man, who hasn't been identified, pulled out a pistol and threatened store personnel, police said. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage man sought in connection to January homicide now wanted for robbery," 1 Feb. 2018 Blessing reported hiding two pistols in the pockets of her robe before confronting her sleeping son, court records show. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Sheriff: MCSO went to 92-year-old woman's home five times before son killed," 5 July 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

7 Jun 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

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