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

Photo: Arian Campo-Flores/The Wall Street Journal Given the chaos, Mr. Shields packed two pistols and a machete. Jennifer Levitz, WSJ, "‘You Just Realize It’s All Gone’: Hurricane Michael’s Heavy Toll," 12 Oct. 2018 In that sense, a pistol and a popping champagne cork make noise in the same way. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Science of Russia's New Silent Sniper Rifle," 29 Aug. 2018 There, Stewart allegedly pistol whipped Capone, placed black hoods over the heads of MacCrackin and Capone, and drove them to a home in Compton, CA, where Capone was stripped naked, placed in a bathtub, and not given food for 30 hours. refinery29.com, "Two Actors Were Violently Kidnapped In A Real-Life Horror Movie Plot," 4 July 2018 Another victim was pistol whipped three times in the face, according to police records. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Drug deal gone bad leads to shots fired, pistol whipping in Oak Creek," 13 June 2018 Investigators say student Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, carried out the attack with a shotgun and pistol that belonged to his father. NBC News, "Trump meets with families affected by Texas shooting, mother calls him 'toddler'," 1 June 2018 He's accused of using a shotgun and pistol that belonged to his father. CBS News, "Texas gov. unveils school safety plan in wake of Santa Fe shooting," 30 May 2018 The shooting range erred in letting patrons fire rifles and large caliber pistols near each other, without the right equipment to reduce high noise levels, according to the lawsuit. Crystal Hill, star-telegram, "Texas judge put in earplugs at a shooting range. Now he can barely hear, suit says | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 10 Apr. 2018 Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in the Wild West of Manhattan and downtown in the 1990s, without the guns and the pistols. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Richard E. Grant on playing a “Labrador” to Melissa McCarthy’s “porcupine” in their new movie," 18 Oct. 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

6 Dec 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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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).


to enclose within walls

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