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

Examples of pistol in a Sentence

a real pistol, she dances rings around the other performers
Recent Examples on the Web Los Gatos police saw the guard, Edris Niakian, had guns registered to him and obtained a court order to seize a .30-06 rifle, a .22-caliber rifle, a 9mm pistol, crossbow, pellet guns and ammunition. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, "How California’s ‘red flag’ law thwarted gun threats at Sunnyvale Ford, Netflix, and Palo Alto City Hall," 15 Sep. 2019 Matthew Woodrow, 18, walked into the store on Thursday with a tactical thigh holster and what turned out to be a B.B. pistol and an airsoft rifle strapped to his back, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. Houston Chronicle, "Houston teen carried airsoft rifle into Walmart to get reactions," 7 Sep. 2019 At the home of one of the suspects, authorities seized 15 rifles, 10 semi-automatic pistols, and 10,000 rounds of ammunition during a raid. Kate Smith, CBS News, "Violence against abortion clinics hit a record high last year. Doctors say it's getting worse.," 17 Sep. 2019 Police recovered an undisclosed amount of cash from the vehicle, along with a loaded pistol and additional magazines. Fox News, "Texas bank robbery suspect killed in crash after police chase where speeds topped 130 mph," 17 Sep. 2019 Police searched her home May 25, 2018, and found several shotguns, pistols and rifles as well as a small amount of cocaine and 21.49 grams of fentanyl, the plea agreement reads. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore woman sentenced to 7½ years in prison for selling fentanyl and cocaine with son," 11 Sep. 2019 Dillinger reached for a pistol and was shot and killed by FBI agents, according to the FBI. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Gangster John Dillinger's body was set to be exhumed from a cemetery. Here's why it might not happen," 10 Sep. 2019 Lawmakers accustomed to scheduling town hall meetings where no one would show up suddenly faced shouting crowds of hundreds, some of whom brought a holstered pistol or a rifle slung over the shoulder. Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, "The Tea Party Didn’t Get What It Wanted, but It Did Unleash the Politics of Anger," 28 Aug. 2019 Silmi agreed to forfeit more than $54,000, a pistol and ammunition seized during the most recent case. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Former Ohio City nightclub owner sentenced to prison for leading drug ring," 26 Aug. 2019

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

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for pistol

The first known use of pistol was circa 1560

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More Definitions for pistol


How to pronounce pistol (audio)

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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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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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