Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


"This gun makes me even with you," said Robert, returning his look unflinchingly.

If you don't put down that gun in double quick time, you'll repent it.

He said he was out hunting with a friend, and his friend's gun went off accidentally.

"He had a gun shoved into the hollow of his throat," said Andy.

Tried to get my gun on him, but he came up like a wild cat and went straight at me.

Charlie, you seem to forget that we're talkin' about a man and a gun.

For the gun Andy had his Colt in the holster, and he knew it like his own mind.

There was a snarl; Jeff had Joe by the throat, and Joe was reaching for his gun.

I know he's more devil than man when it comes to gun play, but we'll meet him together.

The moment a report of a gun is heard they'll swarm up to this room and get you.


mid-14c., gunne "an engine of war that throws rocks, arrows or other missiles," probably a shortening of woman's name Gunilda, found in Middle English gonnilde "cannon" and in an Anglo-Latin reference to a specific gun from a 1330 munitions inventory of Windsor Castle ("...una magna balista de cornu quae Domina Gunilda ..."), from Old Norse Gunnhildr, woman's name, from gunnr + hildr, both meaning "war, battle." First element from PIE *gwhen- "to strike, kill" (see bane); for second, cf. Hilda.

The identification of women with powerful weapons is common historically (cf. Big Bertha, Brown Bess, Mons Meg, etc.); meaning shifted with technology, from cannons to firearms as they developed 15c. Great guns (cannon, etc.) distinguished from small guns (such as muskets) from c.1400. Applied to pistols and revolvers after 1744. Meaning "thief, rascal" is from 1858. Son of a gun is originally nautical. To jump the gun (1912, American English) is from track and field. Guns "a woman's breasts" (especially if prominent) attested by 2006.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.