Definition of gun in English:


See synonyms for gun

Translate gun into Spanish


  • 1A weapon incorporating a metal tube from which bullets, shells, or other missiles are propelled by explosive force, typically making a characteristic loud, sharp noise.

    ‘Most of the shells fired by artillery guns were high explosive shells which could throw shrapnel over a wide distance in the trenches.’
    • ‘The Warrior adapts to a range of roles with weapon fits ranging from machine pistols to 90 mm guns, mortars and missile systems.’
    • ‘Another major difference is the shift from guns to missiles as the primary weapon.’
    • ‘Weapons will primarily consist of pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and projectile launchers.’
    • ‘Shotguns, air pistols, ball-bearing guns and a revolver with about 60 rounds of ammunition had been handed in to local police stations by Wednesday.’
    • ‘Frank will have access to 18 separate weapons, ranging from pistols and rifles to submachine guns and shotguns.’
    • ‘There are a selection of rifles, submachine guns, heavy weapons, and pistols.’
    • ‘Police, some walking arm-in-arm and others riding horseback down the city's streets, used tear gas and guns loaded with rubber bullets and bean bags.’
    • ‘They said they would conduct random checks of passengers' luggage to look for guns, sharp weapons or bomb materials.’
    • ‘The police have been equipped with water cannon, attack dogs, tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullet guns.’
    • ‘The missiles and guns on an aircraft present several hazards to personnel and equipment during loading and when power is applied to the aircraft.’
    • ‘The protrusions are massive guns and missiles - the metal monster is carrying enough artillery to level a small town.’
    • ‘The defence of coastal towns and installations has been a task for artillery for 500 years, and the characteristics of the gun have shaped the design of the fort.’
    • ‘The threat from all types of firearms, be it a real gun, a replica weapon or an airgun is increasing and action must be taken now.’
    • ‘Then, with a loud explosion, the gun fired, and smoke filled the tunnel.’
    • ‘It was normal gun with metal bullets, but the speed at which he pulled the trigger was amazing.’
    • ‘As silently as he possibly can, he fills his gun with bullets and revolves it, preparing to take aim.’
    • ‘They have high-speed capabilities, can reach Mach three, and are armed with only air-to-air missiles and guns.’
    • ‘Range threat systems simulate the tracking systems of enemy missiles and guns and are used to train pilots to evade the tracking systems.’
    • ‘In the course of the film there are lots of bullets, guns, explosions and general mess as supermarket shelves are shot to bits, although nobody appears to die.’
    firearm, weapon
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A device for discharging something (e.g., insecticide, grease, or electrons) in a required direction.
      ‘a grease gun’
      • ‘Irrigation is available from a borehole and water is applied with a rain gun as required.’
      • ‘At a public hearing last week, speakers against the proposal outnumbered the supporters and criticized the use of traps and bolt guns as cruel.’
      • ‘We continue this Thurs evening, Nov 20, with a further portrait session, this time using members' own flash guns.’
    2. 1.2A starting pistol used in track and field events.
      ‘On the extreme left, crouching low, its arms hanging near its feet, was an ape; it looked intent, like an athlete waiting for the gun to go off.’
      • ‘The tinkle of the bell as the door opens pistols me as though it were a starting gun.’
      • ‘Once they reveal who's in, the starting gun cracks on the biggest American sweepstake, with every office of two people or more stashing a few bucks on one of the entrants.’
      • ‘The starting gun sends camels bolting forth in a graceful blur, then a long-stride gallop that is as precise as a quarter-horse trot.’
      • ‘She would probably have won even more, but for being disqualified in 1995 for taking a step out of her lane just after the starting gun went.’
      • ‘It's as if we are waiting for a starting gun to signal us to go.’
      • ‘Fortunately, nations capable of running at the crack of the starting gun are providing the U.N. the time necessary to find its shoes.’
      • ‘The starting gun was sounded by Evan's grandfather James Tiernan.’
      • ‘As the starting gun barked out the release of pent-up energy, each triathlete fought for his or her personal space in the sea of bodies.’
      • ‘The news was like a starting gun to the physics world.’
      • ‘At drop off the teacher shoots a starting gun and I sprint from the building and peel out of the parking lot to go and do things.’
      • ‘No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.’
      • ‘Open moor to a horse is as good as a starting gun: they know the places they usually gallop, and most will gallop them whether you like it or not.’
      • ‘The Resurrection was the starting gun and the return of Christ is the final whistle.’
      • ‘The starting gun was sounded last week to launch the presidential election campaign in Chechnya.’
      • ‘The starting gun may not have been fired officially, but the election is under way.’
      • ‘The way-out wacky races with the finish line at the second Scottish parliament election on May 1 sees the starting gun fired with a busy September.’
      • ‘Last Saturday, the first race under the new name took place at Sparrows Den, in West Wickham, with Will's mother Jan firing the starting gun.’
      • ‘The race for the White House In just eight days, the starting gun will fire for America's presidential election 2000.’
      • ‘It will bring an end to the longest-running saga in the spirits sector but also fire the starting gun on another round of brand-swapping.’
    3. 1.3The firing of a piece of artillery as a salute or signal.
      ‘the boom of the one o'clock gun echoed across the river’
      • ‘A normal royal gun salute is 21 guns, but that was increased to 41, because it was fired from a royal residence.’
      • ‘Alighting from the plane at an air base near Islamabad, Zhu was received by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf as 19 guns boomed to salute him.’
      • ‘Omitting the first few isotopes in the decay series would be like removing the first few guns in our ‘salute’.’
      • ‘Although more and more ships and boats were coming to anchor in the Huangpu, two old signal guns were still in use to manage the shipping so that boats could enter and leave the port in good order.’
    4. 1.4mainly North American A gunman.
      • ‘a hired gun’
      armed robber, hold-up man, bandit, gangster, terrorist, gunfighter
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5guns nautical slang, dated Used as a nickname for a ship's gunnery officer.
  • 2guns informal Muscular arms; well-developed biceps muscles.

    • ‘it's encouraging to note that Schwarzenegger wasn't born with massive guns’
    • ‘Saturday brought out the men, and Bentson easily took first place by curling 85 pounds for 63 reps with his massive guns.’
    • ‘Keep in mind that massive guns, huge pecs, and rock-hard delts are just some of the benefits of using these products in your program!’
    • ‘Like new students of body-building, he is so focused on getting big guns and eye-popping pecs that he forgets all about his lower half.’
    • ‘He'll be flexing his guns alongside Mark Wahlberg in "Pain and Gain."’
    • ‘When these two armed and dangerous men flex their guns, muscle meets cotton in a battle of supremacy, and the smart money is with the muscle.’
    • ‘Everybod had their eyes riveted on his 22-inch guns.’
    • ‘Although most guys would be thrilled to have huge guns, for amateur body-builder Ron, his 23-inch arms were a curse in disguise.’
    • ‘In this manic pursuit of huge guns, way too many trainees neglect their forearms.’
    • ‘It's time to stop daydreaming and make those huge guns a reality!’
    • ‘A successful competitive bodybuilder, the 6'1" 225-pounder relies on his symmetry and enormous guns come contest time.’




transitive verbtransitive verb guns, transitive verb gunning, transitive verb gunned

[with object]
  • 1 informal Cause (an engine) to race.

    • ‘as Neil gunned the engine the boat jumped forward’
    • ‘He brakes once more, guns the engine a final time - and we race off across the roof of the Big Top, the floor dizzyingly far below, and come to a screaming stop, high above the ground on the far side.’
    • ‘He guns the engines, only to realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.’
    • ‘Then he was back in the cockpit, gunning the engine, pointing the nose up and soaring over the telephone wires.’
    • ‘Many of them, heedless of the no-wake zone that they were in, were gunning their engines, kicking up huge wakes as they headed straight for us.’
    • ‘The 30 mph limit was disregarded in the euphoria of being able to gun an engine again.’
    • ‘He guns the engine and gels away from them, sweeping up to the front door and locking up the brakes in a skid.’
    • ‘That afternoon, I must have driven the back roads for half an hour, and only after gunning the engine on the downhill stretch of Highway 10 and circling around our land on the gravel farm road did I remember Nate.’
    • ‘I whipped the Ferrari into the courtyard, gunning the engine.’
    • ‘She gave Erin a wave and, gunning the quad's engine, sped away.’
    • ‘The pair only just survived them, gunning their engines to get over the lip and come flying out the other side (giving thanks to God as they did so).’
    • ‘Gingerly gunning the engine, I swung out onto the interstate, no lights.’
    • ‘He ran over to his BMW and climbed in, gunning the engine, and speeding down the driveway.’
    • ‘So this gentleman pulls up next to me, gunning his engine for all he's worth.’
    • ‘I heard him gunning the engine on his pickup and squealing out of the driveway.’
    • ‘I was in terrible pain, but was worried about my friends, so I started gunning the engine.’
    • ‘I gunned the engine at the fifth red light I came upon, and was tempted to go through the red light, but a low rumble stopped me.’
    • ‘He gunned the engine and sped away from Darren's house.’
    • ‘The door whooshed shut, and the bus's tires skidded on the gravel driveway as the driver gunned the engine.’
    • ‘I was still putting on my helmet when David gunned his engine, leaving Kelvin and I in a cloud of dust.’
    • ‘He gunned his engine, and bullied the schooner through, scraping bottom.’
    1. 1.1Accelerate (a vehicle)
      ‘he gunned the car away from the curb’
      • ‘‘It is something like gunning a car constantly,’ she says.’
      • ‘I couldn't get comfortable, the dreams were bad, my neighbor was gunning his motorcycle again.’
      • ‘He had already gunned the little car; at once it lost traction on the gravel.’
      • ‘He guns the car out of the parking lot and, because there is no traffic blocking his path, he drives unhindered straight up the road and away.’
      • ‘I shook my head no, and Kass laughed, gunning the truck away from home.’
      • ‘He surveyed the streets, gunning the car up one of San Francisco's steep hills.’
      • ‘I gunned the cycle and popped a wheelie before driving out to the desert.’
      • ‘She gunned her bike once more and set her goal on getting down there quickly as possible.’
      • ‘Instead he gunned the car and when the light changed, took off down the road.’
      • ‘As fast as she could gun the car without being pulled over, she rushed from the airport to the monolithic Apath building.’
      • ‘Jonno is down below about to start, when he screams at me to gun the boat.’
      • ‘They gun the boat towards the fish and ease off just before they get too near them.’
      • ‘Motivated by this thought, Isis gunned her hover cycle before taking off.’
      • ‘Most days the cobbled streets and piazzas of the town are chock-full of delivery vans, family Fiats and boy racers gunning their small-engined Vespas.’
      • ‘With one last glance back, both to the accelerating cop and his four friends behind him, he gunned it.’
      • ‘Giving the driver a nod, the truck gunned it, and sped back onto the more secure skidder tail.’
      • ‘It took only a second to decide it was time to move on, but when Andrew gunned the BMW towards a small opening between the bikes, the gap closed up.’
      • ‘Tom Frantzen guns his four-wheeler across the farmyard, a cart full of empty feed buckets rattling behind.’
      • ‘Grabbing his jacket, he ran out the door and into his truck, throwing it into reverse, then drive and gunning it down the road away from that prison he had to stay at.’





    big gun
    • An important or powerful person.

      • ‘the first baseman and the center fielder were the big guns of that team’
    go great guns
    • Proceed forcefully, vigorously, or successfully.

      • ‘the film industry has been going great guns recently’
      • ‘Gala's early attempts at intimidating the ‘city boys’ went great guns, with feet raking aplenty in the rucks.’
      • ‘Our double-act show went great guns, and we had a few walkouts.’
      • ‘She's going great guns, building night and day; making things work that just shouldn't, until she tells the principal what she's doing in an effort to explain skipping class.’
      • ‘A glance at your local directory will confirm that dance studios, schools and danceware suppliers are going great guns and whether you wish to learn classical ballet or belly dancing, you will find someone to teach you.’
      • ‘They were going great guns until my husband tried to turn the plane and it wouldn't turn.’
      • ‘Nine years on, not only have savings in personal pensions fallen dramatically, but company pensions, which were going great guns in 1997, are now also on their knees.’
      • ‘I started the fossil trail - that's going great guns.’
      • ‘My piano lessons were going great guns, so I thought this put me in the elite and obviously endeavored to impress my teacher and probably my parents.’
      • ‘The mint is also going great guns after a shaky start, and the oregano plant which amounted to nothing last year has come into it's own and is crowding out the chives which share it's tub.’
      • ‘There's a new smokehouse operation that's going great guns.’
    jump the gun
    • Act before the proper time.

      • ‘There's a lot of sense in what he says, but I think he jumps the gun on this one.’
      • ‘The atmosphere is tense, police and coastguards are on hand to make sure nobody jumps the gun.’
      • ‘It's only been here a week and when we got it I thought I was jumping the gun, but it's so cheerful and pretty and elegant in it's dark green velvety majesty, turning one end of my livingroom into the dark, mysterious winter forest.’
      • ‘Councillor Rowen is jumping the gun, as we haven't even decided if we're adopting the scheme.’
      • ‘While I could be jumping the gun - the night is still young - it now appears that their final answer is: They were talking about a car.’
      • ‘While you've been worried about discretion, caution and not jumping the gun, however, your ‘friend’ has been thinking about how to lure you closer.’
      • ‘There's been some criticism that he's jumping the gun here and trying to look more presidential before there's a concession or anything like that.’
      • ‘If not, maybe you are jumping the gun and are actually feeling uncomfortable about the situation yourself, not about what other people are thinking.’
      • ‘I think that, at this point, anything is jumping the gun, other than saying he's the most logical suspect and all the evidence does point to him right now.’
      • ‘But are politicians jumping the gun with plans to stop it?’
    stick to one's guns
    • Refuse to compromise or change, despite criticism.

      • ‘we have stuck to our guns on that issue’
      • ‘Labour MPs determined to shoot down controversial plans for variable university top-up fees are poised to stick to their guns, despite last-ditch compromise proposals from the Government.’
      • ‘Despite the criticism, the archbishop stuck to his guns.’
      • ‘She is sticking to her guns and point blank refusing to send him anywhere else.’
      • ‘He will stick to his guns, despite all the mounting evidence.’
      • ‘It made him think that force was a suitable way of dealing with tricky problems, and that if you stuck to your guns and ploughed on, you would end up as a hero.’
      • ‘Management staff from both teams pleaded with him to continue but he stuck to his guns and abandoned the National Conference One fixture.’
      • ‘He's his own man, doesn't compromise his principles to achieve cheap popularity, but sticks to his guns.’
      • ‘Peers should be open to compromise, but they should also stick to their guns on the important issues.’
      • ‘He stuck to his guns and again insisted he could do nothing to help himself.’
      • ‘Women now also recognise the need to stick to their guns when they are criticised by men.’
    top gun
    • A (or the) most important person.

      • ‘the top guns in contention for the coveted post of chairman’
      • ‘However when it comes to a knockout competition, there are always surprises and as always some of the top guns will be making their exit in the opening rounds with last year's finalists Desmonds and Duagh meeting in the first round.’
      • ‘And after savouring the taste of a showdown with the Premiership's top guns in the Worthington Cup, Cox is ready for more challenges in what he described as ‘the greatest cup in the world’.’
      • ‘The important thing to remember is that while the men are out there brimming with testosterone, striving to be top guns, you can set off your beauty against some of the most glorious vistas nature has to offer.’
      • ‘However, she said that what foreign companies are interested in are the top guns who are familiar with both international and national financial practices.’
      • ‘Before the presidential candidates go head to head, two of their campaign top guns will give us a sense of what to expect tonight.’
      • ‘When we come back, some surprising words about the press from one of the top guns at 1600 Pennsylvania.’
      • ‘This week the network sent their top guns to the region to report on the storm's three-month anniversary.’
      • ‘A magnificent effort from her which shows she can certainly mix it with the top guns and a little bit more luck with the putter and she could pull out a big win.’
      • ‘But in order to be top gun in 2004, he has to topple the deficits, topple the rise in unemployment, topple the rising cost of health insurance, topple rising crimes.’
      • ‘It is the familiar tale of a weary professional challenged by a cocky upstart determined to prove himself as top gun.’
    under the gun
    North American informal
    • Under great pressure.

      • ‘manufacturers are under the gun to offer alternatives’
      • ‘It never fails when you make plans to tackle something, or are under the gun with pressure, something or everything jumps in your way trying to prevent you from making that goal.’
      • ‘Sources say the Pentagon is under the gun to trim $10 billion from next year's budget, and as much as $60 billion in defense spending over the next six years.’
      • ‘Testing has changed the curriculum, because teachers know they are under the gun and administrators know their schools are going to be ranked and that parents look at those scores when choosing schools.’
      • ‘And the Army Corps of Engineers is under the gun to explain why it's taking so long to repair the breaches in the levee that's keeping most of the city under water.’
      • ‘The fact is, I will try to get few things blogged tomorrow, but for the next month I am going to be seriously under the gun and just don't have time for much comments box chatter.’
      • ‘Apologies for anything that strikes you as hideously substandard; I've been under the gun for a few weeks with no rest in sight.’
      • ‘Here, they seem to be put under the gun, I think, quite severely.’
      • ‘And I learned the rapper, who never is shy about speaking his mind, isn't backing down, even if he is under the gun.’
      • ‘How many times are you as the operator under the gun to complete a facility project where your primary concern is having it done before camp opens?’
      • ‘Clearly, since they're under the gun, they're not going to pick a totally unqualified flunky.’

Phrasal Verbs

    gun down
    • gun someone down, gun down someoneShoot someone with a gun.

      • ‘they were gunned down by masked snipers’
    gun for
    • 1gun for someoneSeek an opportunity to blame or attack someone.

      ‘the candidate was gunning for his rival over campaign finances’
      • ‘Banner's in more trouble than usual, as dead enemies are gunning for him, and new, mysterious ones are busy setting him up for murder.’
      • ‘Down below, the suspicion from an offended conservative is that I'm gunning for conservatives.’
      • ‘I still think he's kind of cool, but that was really uncalled for, as half the field was still gunning for him.’
      • ‘As set up in the film, a varied and suspiciously subversive group of candidates seems to be gunning for flamboyant California administrative mainstay Willie Brown.’
      • ‘One thing's for sure: He's the guy that every other team is gunning for, and that's a tough place to be.’
      • ‘I could hardly wait for it all to come out and see the reaction of the people who had been gunning for us.’
      • ‘Theoretically defending the title should be harder because everyone will be gunning for me.’
      • ‘Linda came up behind me, ‘They were gunning for you today.’’
      • ‘It seemed like that senator was gunning for you.’
      • ‘Clearly, they're keeping their heads down at the moment because of the overwhelming American presence in the region and the fact that the Russians, the Americans, the regimes, everyone is gunning for them.’
      1. 1.1gun for somethingSeek out or strive for something in a determined way.
        ‘he had been gunning for a place in the squad’
        • ‘The party is gunning for at least 40 seats, which could make the Congress depend on it for forming the government.’
        • ‘But to fair (and I have no idea if this is what they were gunning for, but I'm guessing no), this album is pretty depressing, precisely because it's so naively bright and rosy.’
        • ‘An impulse buy, claims the 30-year-old, but the car met the ‘suitably obnoxious’ criteria that he was gunning for - and it allowed him to indulge his love for driving fast.’
        • ‘Business units hate charge-backs because they want computing to come out of IT's budget, no matter how big a project the business unit is gunning for.’
        • ‘But this is what I've been gunning for all my life.’
        • ‘Also, with a game based on a movie, mass appeal will be something that the developers will be gunning for.’
        • ‘You would too if 12,000 people were gunning for your job.’
        • ‘Don't be fooled by the sprawling and overdone psychedelic ballads - this is the same boy band that was gunning for the pre-pubescent market only two years ago.’
        • ‘Even at 49 with more than 50 career victories and one NASCAR cup championship, Wallace is gunning for victory lane.’
        • ‘Africa's top eight clubs will be gunning for a good deal of money and a piece of football history.’


Middle English gunne, gonne, perhaps from a pet form of the Scandinavian name Gunnhildr, from gunnr + hildr, both meaning ‘war’.