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[bluhn-der-buhs] /ˈblʌn dərˌbʌs/
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
1645-55; < Dutch donderbus (equivalent to donder thunder + bus gun, box1) with donder replaced by blunder. See harquebus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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.

    The Rambles of a Rat

    A. L. O. E.
  • However, a sensible man holds no long discussions with a blunderbuss.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • But always this man stolidly faced me with the yawning mouth of the blunderbuss.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • "Here approaches Strammers in quest of his blunderbuss," she answered calmly.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • “I almost believe that the blunderbuss was the tool of the Hill crowd,” she said angrily.

    Betty Wales Senior Margaret Warde
  • The blunderbuss came to see her more and more often as the term went on.

    Betty Wales Senior Margaret Warde
  • If Navarro wakes up, he'll snatch at his blunderbuss, and then look out for yourself!

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • Garcia came up, and fired his blunderbuss full into his face.

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • This is a short spear, and is shot out of a gun like a blunderbuss.

    Taking Tales W.H.G. Kingston
British Dictionary definitions for blunderbuss


an obsolete short musket with large bore and flared muzzle, used to scatter shot at short range
(informal) a clumsy unsubtle person
Word Origin
C17: changed (through the influence of blunder) from Dutch donderbus; from donderthunder + 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
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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
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