- a short musket of wide bore with expanded muzzle to scatter shot, bullets, or slugs at close range.
- an insensitive, blundering person.
Origin of blunderbuss
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for blunderbuss
With this hurried adjuration, he cocked his blunderbuss, and stood on the offensive.A Tale of Two Cities
No, no,—my blunderbuss is loaded, and 66 the villains cannot escape.The Rambles of a Rat
A. L. O. E.
But always this man stolidly faced me with the yawning mouth of the blunderbuss.
However, a sensible man holds no long discussions with a blunderbuss.
"Here approaches Strammers in quest of his blunderbuss," she answered calmly.
- an obsolete short musket with large bore and flared muzzle, used to scatter shot at short range
- informal a clumsy unsubtle person
C17: changed (through the influence of blunder) from Dutch donderbus; from donder thunder + obsolete bus gun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for blunderbuss
1650s, from Dutch donderbus, from donder "thunder" (Middle Dutch doner, donder, from Proto-Germanic *thunaraz; see thunder (n.)) + bus "gun" (originally "box, tube"); altered by resemblance to blunder.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper