gun

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gun / gən/ • n. a weapon incorporating a metal tube from which bullets, shells, or other missiles are propelled by explosive force, typically making a characteristic loud, sharp noise. ∎  a device for discharging something (e.g., insecticide, grease, or electrons) in a required direction. ∎  a gunman: a hired gun. ∎  (guns) dated Nautical slang used as a nickname for a ship's gunnery officer. ∎  a starting pistol used in track and field events. ∎  the firing of a piece of artillery as a salute or signal: the boom of the one o'clock gun echoed across the river. • v. (gunned , gun·ning ) [tr.] 1. (gun someone down) shoot someone with a gun: they were gunned down by masked snipers. 2. inf. cause (an engine) to race: as Neil gunned the engine, the boat jumped forward. ∎  [tr.] accelerate (a vehicle): he gunned the car away from the curb. PHRASES: big gun inf. an important or powerful person. go great guns inf. proceed forcefully, vigorously, or successfully: the film industry has been going great guns recently. jump the gun inf. act before the proper time. stick to one's guns inf. refuse to compromise or change, despite criticism: we have stuck to our guns on that issue. top gun a (or the) most important person: the top guns in contention for the coveted post of chairman. under the gun inf. under great pressure: manufacturers are under the gun to offer alternatives.PHRASAL VERBS: gun for pursue or act against (someone) with hostility: the Republican candidate was gunning for his rival over campaign finances. ∎  seek out or strive for (something) determinedly: he had been gunning for a place in the squad. DERIVATIVES: gun·less adj. gunned adj. [in comb.] a heavy-gunned ship.

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gun Tubular weapon firing a projectile, usually by force of explosion. The term is now restricted to artillery pieces with a relatively high muzzle velocity and a flat trajectory. Pistols, rifles and machine guns are usually described as guns; mortars and howitzers are not.

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gun guns or butter in government policy, the choice between social and economic development and military expansion; often with reference to the comment by the German Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945) in 1936, ‘If we are attacked we can only defend ourselves with guns not with butter.’
stick to one's guns refuse to compromise or change, despite criticism. With allusion to maintaining one's position under enemy fire.

See also smoking gun, son of a gun.

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gunbegun, bun, done, Donne, dun, fine-spun, forerun, fun, gun, Gunn, hon, Hun, none, nun, one, one-to-one, outdone, outgun, outrun, pun, run, shun, son, spun, stun, sun, ton, tonne, tun, underdone, Verdun, won •honeybun • handgun • flashgun •air gun • sixgun • popgun • shotgun •blowgun, shogun •speargun • scattergun • homespun •endrun • sheep run • grandson •stepson • godson • kiloton • megaton •anyone • everyone • someone

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gun heavy piece of ordnance, cannon XIV; †large engine of war; portable fire-arm XV. ME. gunne, gonne; perh. repr. pet-form (*Gunna) of the Scand. female name Gunnhildr (f. gunnr + hildr, both meaning ‘war’).
Hence gunner XIV. Whence gunnery XVII, gunpowder, gunshot XV, gunsmith XVI, gunstock XV. So gun vb. XVII.

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Gun

GUN. This word should be restricted to cannon, but in the eighteenth century, as in the twentieth, it also was used to mean a musket or rifle.