weap·​on | \ ˈwe-pən How to pronounce weapon (audio) \

Definition of weapon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something (such as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
2 : a means of contending against another


weaponed; weaponing; weapons

Definition of weapon (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of weapon in a Sentence


assault with a deadly weapon The pitcher's slider is his most effective weapon. a new weapon in the fight against cancer The mayor's campaign unleashed its secret weapon.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The United States is demanding that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons entirely before international sanctions are lifted. Christopher Bodeen, BostonGlobe.com, "China’s Xi pushes economic reform at North Korea summit," 21 June 2019 But such aid is deeply unpopular among Mr. Moon’s conservative opponents at home, especially when the North has not only made no progress in removing its nuclear weapons, but also resumed testing of short-range missiles. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "South Korea to Send the North 50,000 Tons of Rice," 19 June 2019 The officer discharged his service weapon during the encounter, resulting in a fatality, police said. Jess Nocera, baltimoresun.com, "Howard police charge two in Fox's Firearms burglary," 18 June 2019 Employees and customers were safely evacuated before officers ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "Mansfield police shoot man who wouldn't drop gun as he waved it around inside IHOP," 18 June 2019 The officer fired his weapon, killing 32-year-old Kenneth French and injuring two of French's family members. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Off-duty officer fatally shot a man after being assaulted in a California Costco, police say," 16 June 2019 The president has characterized his threat to impose tariffs on autos as his biggest weapon in trying to extract concessions from the nation’s top trading partners. Ben Foldy, WSJ, "Tariffs Loom Over Car Makers, Despite Mexico Deal," 13 June 2019 At least four police officers can be seen with their weapons drawn at a Black man who was kneeling on the sidewalk, faced away from the officers, his hands interlaced behind his head. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Woman Pleads With California Officers Not To Shoot Kneeling Black Man," 13 June 2019 Some will blame the Warriors’ loss on the injuries to Kevin Durant in Game 5 and to Klay Thompson in the third quarter of Game 6, stripping the Warriors of two of their three all-world offensive weapons. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "For Warriors, is this the end of a dream or just a rude interruption?," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Each crime fit the same modus operandi including the suspect’s build and weapon description, the report said. John R. Ellement, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston police arrest suspect in 24 armed robberies," 6 July 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for weapon


Middle English wepen, from Old English wǣpen; akin to Old High German wāffan weapon, Old Norse vāpn

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Dictionary Entries near weapon


wean on






Statistics for weapon

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for weapon

The first known use of weapon was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for weapon



English Language Learners Definition of weapon

: something (such as a gun, knife, club, or bomb) that is used for fighting or attacking someone or for defending yourself when someone is attacking you
: something (such as a skill, idea, or tool) that is used to win a contest or achieve something


weap·​on | \ ˈwe-pən How to pronounce weapon (audio) \

Kids Definition of weapon

: something (as a gun, knife, or club) to fight with

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More from Merriam-Webster on weapon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for weapon

Spanish Central: Translation of weapon

Nglish: Translation of weapon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of weapon for Arabic Speakers

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