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son of a gun

noun, plural sons of guns.
a rogue; rascal; scoundrel:
That son of a gun still owes me $20.
a tiresome or disagreeable matter, chore, etc.
(used as an affectionate greeting, term of address, etc.):
Charlie Humpelmeyer, you old son of a gun, how are you?
(used as an exclamation of irritation, surprise, dismay, etc.).
Origin of son of a gun
British argot
1700-10; perhaps orig. the illegitimate offspring of a soldier, though later influenced by British argot gun thief; cf. gun moll Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for son of a gun

son of a gun

noun (pl) sons of guns
(slang, mainly US & Canadian) a rogue or rascal: used as a jocular form of address
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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Slang definitions & phrases for son of a gun

son of a bitch


An exclamation of anger, annoyance, amazement, disappointment, etc: Son of a bitch! The thing's busted again!

n phr,n

  1. A despicable person; bastard, shitheel: I told the son of a bitch what I thought of him (entry form 1707+, variants 1975+; gun 1786+)
  2. Something very difficult or vexatious, esp a hard task: Getting that thing fitted was a son of a bitch
  3. A person or thing that is remarkable, wonderful, superior, etc; bitch: Their new album is a son of a bitch, I tell you/ a big son of a buck

[the son of a gun variant was said by Admiral Smythe to have been ''originally applied to boys born afloat,'' at a time when women could accompany men to sea, and when children could be born and cradled under a gun or gun carriage, hence have no proper legitimate parentage]

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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