riot gun

noun

: a small arm used to disperse rioters rather than to inflict serious injury or death
especially : a short-barreled shotgun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Then police, armed with riot gun, tear gas and clubs, formed into two large battalions and cleared the street in front of the gates. ... Scott Harrison, Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2019 The ammunition issued for the riot guns was lethal buckshot, shells used by deer hunters that contain nine to 12 pellets as large as .38 caliber pistol slugs. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'riot gun.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1886, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of riot gun was in 1886

Dictionary Entries Near riot gun

Cite this Entry

“Riot gun.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/riot%20gun. Accessed 30 Jan. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY