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

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 Hours later, militants attacked the nearby C.I.A. base with mortars and small arms. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "Benghazi Attacker Gets 22 Years, Disappointing Prosecutors Who Sought Life," 27 June 2018 For now, the A-10 is being used largely in uncontested environments, where the greatest danger pilots face is small arms fire or possibly a Stinger-like man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) missile. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Air Force tests two turboprops as potential A-10 “replacements”," 19 June 2018 The combatants spent their days talking and sometimes handling small arms, or perhaps explosives. William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, "An Extraordinarily Expensive Way to Fight ISIS," 21 June 2018 This means Jaguar armor will protect the crew against the gamut of small arms fire and 155mm artillery shell shrapnel. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Formidable 'Jaguar' recon vehicle revealed, touts powerful cannon and anti-tank missiles," 18 June 2018 According to the military's Africa command, the unit came under fire from mortars and small arms. Dennis Wagner, azcentral, "Family reflects on Chandler soldier killed during Somalia attack by al-Shabaab militants," 14 June 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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Time Traveler for small arm

The first known use of small arm was in 1674

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