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[guhn] /gʌn/
a weapon consisting of a metal tube, with mechanical attachments, from which projectiles are shot by the force of an explosive; a piece of ordnance.
any portable firearm, as a rifle, shotgun, or revolver.
a long-barreled cannon having a relatively flat trajectory.
any device for shooting something under pressure:
a paint gun; a staple gun.
Slang. a person whose profession is killing; professional killer:
a gangland gun.
British. a member of a shooting party.
  1. (esp. in baseball) a player’s throwing arm.
  2. guns, the biceps or triceps of the arms:
    his big, muscular guns.
verb (used with object), gunned, gunning.
to shoot with a gun (often followed by down):
The guards gunned down the fleeing convict.
to cause (an engine, vehicle, aircraft, etc.) to increase in speed very quickly by increasing the supply of fuel.
verb (used without object), gunned, gunning.
to hunt with a gun.
to shoot with a gun.
Verb phrases
gun for,
  1. to seek with intent to harm or kill.
  2. to seek; try earnestly to obtain:
    He is gunning for a raise.
give the gun, Slang. to put into motion or speed up:
We gave the motor the gun and drove off.
jump the gun, Slang.
  1. to begin a race before the starting signal.
  2. to begin prematurely; act too hastily.
spike someone's guns, to frustrate or prevent someone from accomplishing a plan:
Our competitors planned a surprise reduction in their rates, but we discovered it and were able to spike their guns.
stick to one's guns, to maintain one's position in the face of opposition; stand firm:
They stuck to their guns and refused to submit.
Also, stand by one's guns.
under the gun, under pressure, as to meet a deadline or solve a problem:
We're all under the gun with these new sales quotas.
Origin of gun1
1300-50; Middle English gunne, gonne, apparently short for Anglo-Latin Gunilda, gonnyld, name for engine of war; compare Old Norse Gunna, short for Gunnhildr woman's name
Related forms
gunless, adjective


[guhn] /gʌn/
past participle of gin3 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gunned
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British Dictionary definitions for gunned


  1. having a gun or guns as specified: heavily gunned
  2. (in combination): three-gunned


  1. a weapon with a metallic tube or barrel from which a missile is discharged, usually by force of an explosion. It may be portable or mounted. In a military context the term applies specifically to a flat-trajectory artillery piece
  2. (as modifier): a gun barrel
the firing of a gun as a salute or signal, as in military ceremonial
a member of or a place in a shooting party or syndicate
any device used to project something under pressure: a grease gun, a spray gun
(US, slang) an armed criminal; gunman
(Austral & NZ, slang)
  1. an expert
  2. (as modifier): a gun shearer, a gun batsman
(slang) go great guns, to act or function with great speed, intensity, etc
jump the gun, beat the gun
  1. (of a runner, etc) to set off before the starting signal is given
  2. (informal) to act prematurely
spike someone's guns, See spike1 (sense 15)
(informal) stick to one's guns, to maintain one's opinions or intentions in spite of opposition
verb guns, gunning, gunned
when tr, often foll by down. to shoot (someone) with a gun
(transitive) to press hard on the accelerator of (an engine): to gun the engine of a car
(intransitive) to hunt with a gun
See also gun for
Word Origin
C14: probably from a female pet name shortened from the Scandinavian name Gunnhildr (from Old Norse gunnr war + hildr war)
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 gunned



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.



"to shoot with a gun," 1620s, from gun (n.); the sense of "to accelerate an engine" is from 1930, from earlier phrase to give (something) the gun. Related: Gunned; gunning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gunned

gun 1


  1. An armed criminal: They hired a gun to blast the competition (1859+)
  2. An important person; big gun: He's quite a gun around there now (1830+)
  3. The throttle of a car, airplane, etc: Get your stupid foot off the gun (1900s+)
  4. A hypodermic needle (1930s+ Narcotics)
  5. long, heavy surfboard (1960s+ Surfers)
  6. Throwing arm, esp a strong and accurate one (1929+ Baseball)


  1. To shoot someone: Canales had no motive to gun Lou (1898+)
  2. To speed up an engine or vehicle, esp abruptly; goose: He gunned the Rolls into the parking spot (1940s+)

Related Terms

big gun, burp gun, give it the gun, jump the gun, scattergun, six-shooter, smoking gun, son of a bitch, tommy gun, zip gun

gun 2


(also gon) A professional thief, esp a pickpocket

[1858+; fr Yiddish gonif]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with gunned
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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