[ kahr-been, -bahyn ]
See synonyms for carbine on
  1. a light, gas-operated semiautomatic rifle.

  2. (formerly) a short rifle used in the cavalry.

Origin of carbine

1595–1605; earlier carabine<Middle French: small harquebus, weapon borne by a carabin a lightly armed cavalryman, compared with (e)scarabin gravedigger for plague victims (<Provençal, akin to French escarbot cockchafer, dung beetle ≪ Latin scarabaeusscarab), though semantic change is unclear

Words Nearby carbine Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use carbine in a sentence

  • As he stood, gloomily lost in the horror of the moment, another carbine was fired, accompanied by shouts from the soldiers.

  • But the jar threw my six-shooter where I couldn't reach it, and the carbine was jammed in the stirrup-leather on the wrong side.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Trevithick invented and made a carbine with a short barrel of large bore, having a hollow frame-work stock.

  • "Back your horse clear of the trail," he said, and there was a rattle as he flung his carbine across the saddle.

    Winston of the Prairie | Harold Bindloss
  • William Jencks had invented a carbine, and Uncle Sam wanted several thousand guns made in a hurry under the patent.

British Dictionary definitions for carbine


/ (ˈkɑːbaɪn) /

  1. a light automatic or semiautomatic rifle of limited range

  2. Also called: carabin, carabine a light short-barrelled shoulder rifle formerly used by cavalry

Origin of carbine

C17: from French carabine, from Old French carabin carabineer, perhaps variant of escarrabin one who prepares corpses for burial, from scarabée, from Latin scarabaeus scarab

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