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1. A weapon consisting of a metal tube from which a projectile is fired at high velocity into a relatively flat trajectory, especially:
a. A portable firearm, such as a rifle or revolver.
b. A cannon with a long barrel and a relatively low angle of fire.
2. A device resembling a firearm or cannon, as in its ability to project something, such as grease or paint, under pressure or at great speed.
3. A discharge of a firearm or cannon as a signal or salute: heard the guns honoring the leader.
4. One who is armed with or skilled in the use of a gun.
5. The throttle of an engine, as of an automobile.
6. guns Slang The biceps muscles of the arms.
v. gunned, gun·ning, guns
1. To shoot (a person): a bank robber who was gunned down by the police.
2. To open the throttle of (an engine) so as to accelerate: gunned the engine and sped off.
To hunt with a gun.
Phrasal Verb:
gun for
1. To plan or take action to harm or destroy (someone).
2. To go after in earnest; set out to obtain: gunning for a promotion.
go great guns
To proceed or perform with great speed, skill, or success.
hold a gun to (someone's) head
To put pressure on someone.
under the gun
Under great pressure or under threat.

[Middle English gonne, cannon, short for Gunilda, woman's name applied to a siege engine, from Old Norse Gunnhildr, woman's name : gunnr, war; see gwhen- in Indo-European roots + hildr, war.]


1. (Firearms, Gunnery, Ordnance & Artillery) the act or an instance of shooting with guns
2. (Hunting) the art, practice, or act of hunting game with guns
References in periodicals archive ?
In this literary study of racial violence, Sandra Gunning explores the work of both black and white writers as public discourse influencing the construction of racial, gendered, and national identities.
Gunning argues that Thomas Dixon's popular race novels are mostly expressions of "a profound anxiety over the maintenance of a stable white identity" and less a register of popular white supremacy triumph over African Americans.
Through her readings Gunning suggests ways in which the study of both race and gender can be integrated within the framing of racialized culture as well as women's literature.