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blunderbuss

[bluhn-der-buhs]
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noun
  1. a short musket of wide bore with expanded muzzle to scatter shot, bullets, or slugs at close range.
  2. an insensitive, blundering person.

Origin of blunderbuss

1645–55; < Dutch donderbus (equivalent to donder thunder + bus gun, box1) with donder replaced by blunder. See harquebus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for blunderbuss

Historical Examples

  • With this hurried adjuration, he cocked his blunderbuss, and stood on the offensive.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • No, no,—my blunderbuss is loaded, and 66 the villains cannot escape.

  • But always this man stolidly faced me with the yawning mouth of the blunderbuss.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane

  • However, a sensible man holds no long discussions with a blunderbuss.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane

  • "Here approaches Strammers in quest of his blunderbuss," she answered calmly.

    The O'Ruddy

    Stephen Crane


British Dictionary definitions for blunderbuss

blunderbuss

noun
  1. an obsolete short musket with large bore and flared muzzle, used to scatter shot at short range
  2. informal a clumsy unsubtle person

Word Origin

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

n.

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