smoking gun


: something that serves as conclusive evidence or proof (as of a crime or scientific theory)

Example Sentences

This document is the smoking gun that proves that he was lying.
Recent Examples on the Web Two of those lasers have wavelengths that can only be absorbed by water ice, so if the satellite records less reflected light than expected, that’s a smoking gun. Katrina Miller, WIRED, 13 Dec. 2022 The logic is compelling, sure, and the smoking gun could be out there. Jason P. Dinh, Discover Magazine, 19 July 2022 The clues kept coming in, yet a smoking gun was elusive. Paul Schrodt, Men's Health, 30 Nov. 2022 First, the newly sparking and smoking gun fired bolts that ascended into the sky. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 For a long time, there was the notion that finding oxygen and methane in a planetary atmosphere would be a smoking gun for life. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 26 Jan. 2011 Gutierrez’s audio recording became a smoking gun when it was later published in Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein exposé in The New Yorker in October 2017. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 8 Nov. 2022 Trump’s allies soon declared that the examination had unearthed a smoking gun. Emma Brown And Jon Swaine, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Oct. 2022 In the end, Palladino’s records may have actually turned out to be more of a help for the defense than a smoking gun for prosecutors. Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, 21 Oct. 2022 See More

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

1974, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of smoking gun was in 1974

Dictionary Entries Near smoking gun

Cite this Entry

“Smoking gun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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