small arm


Definition of small arm

: a handheld firearm (such as a handgun or shoulder arm) usually used in plural

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Synonyms for small arm


arm, firearm, gun, heat [slang], piece

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Examples of small arm in a Sentence

the soldiers keep their small arms securely in their holsters when not on patrol

Recent Examples on the Web

Those who admitted to planning attacks described them as involving small, improvised bombs or small arms, which was consistent with the charges brought by Bahraini authorities. Souad Mekhennet, Washington Post, "In Bahrain, a smoldering insurgency reveals the resilience of Iran’s proxy war," 18 May 2018 In recent years Kalashnikov has expanded beyond the world of small arms into new weapons systems and even civilian vehicles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Kalashnikov Is Getting into the Business of Self-Destructing Drones," 20 Feb. 2019 North Korea also attempted to sell small arms and light weapons and other military equipment via foreign intermediaries, including Syrian arms traffickers in the case of Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen as well as Libya and Sudan, the report said. Fox News, "Russia holds up release of report on North Korea sanctions," 30 Aug. 2018 After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Russian Army inherited large stocks of small arms, and has coasted on that inventory ever since. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Chukavin, Russia’s New Sniper Rifle," 6 Dec. 2018 The post was also a reminder that although Europeans often criticise lax firearm-ownership laws across the Atlantic, the region’s firms are increasingly present in America’s market for small arms—defined as revolvers, pistols, rifles and shotguns. The Economist, "Europe’s flourishing gunmakers," 24 Feb. 2018 There’s also a good chance that some North Koreans, especially military personnel with easy access to small arms, may resort to petty larceny to get ahead. Charlie Campbell, Time, "What Would Korean Reunification Look Like? Five Glaring Problems to Overcome," 26 Apr. 2018 Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, was shot by small arms fire and killed. Lolita C. Baldor,, "Army ponders changes after insider attack that killed soldier in Afghanistan," 14 July 2018 Officials said Celiz died Thursday of wounds from enemy small arms fire. Fox News, "Soldier from South Carolina killed in combat in Afghanistan," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'small arm.' 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 small arm

1674, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for small arm

Last Updated

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for small arm

The first known use of small arm was in 1674

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for small arm Encyclopedia article about small arm

Comments on small arm

What made you want to look up small arm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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