Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[guhn-pou-der] /ˈgʌnˌpaʊ dər/
an explosive mixture, as of potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal, used in shells and cartridges, in fireworks, for blasting, etc.
Also called gunpowder tea. a fine variety of green China tea, each leaf of which is rolled into a little ball.
Origin of gunpowder
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1375-1425; See origin at gun1, powder1
Related forms
gunpowdery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for gunpowder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was also a large supply of gunpowder, ball, and shot, and coal and wood in abundance.

    The Field of Ice Jules Verne
  • Don't touch the gunpowder till you're told, or you'll get your head smacked.

    The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
  • There you see a heap of gunpowder in the centre of our large flame.

    The Story of a Tinder-box Charles Meymott Tidy
  • As well put a match to a gunpowder barrel to warm your fingers.

  • The flash of a pinch of gunpowder in your face may be a bigger matter.

    The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for gunpowder


an explosive mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulphur (typical proportions are 75:15:10): used in time fuses, blasting, and fireworks Also called black powder
Derived Forms
gunpowdery, adjective
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gunpowder

early 15c., from gun (n.) + powder (n.). The Gunpowder Plot was the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605, while the King, Lords and Commons were assembled there.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for gunpowder

Word Value for gunpowder

Scrabble Words With Friends