or der·in·ger


Origin of derringer

1850–55, Americanism; named after Henry Deringer, mid-19th-century American gunsmith who invented it Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for derringer

Historical Examples of derringer

  • He could see I was losing my temper and took a little pistol from his pocket—a Derringer.

    The Grell Mystery

    Frank Froest

  • He composedly tucked the derringer into his waistcoat pocket again.

    Desert Dust

    Edwin L. Sabin

  • Doctor Hissong leaped from the stand, a derringer in his hand.

    Shawn of Skarrow

    James Tandy Ellis

  • Doctor Hissong brought up his derringer and pulled the trigger.

    Shawn of Skarrow

    James Tandy Ellis

  • Derringer: a pistol, so called from the name of the inventor.

    The Short-story

    William Patterson Atkinson

British Dictionary definitions for derringer



  1. a short-barrelled pocket pistol of large calibre

Word Origin for derringer

C19: named after Henry Deringer, American gunsmith who invented it
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

Word Origin and History for derringer

1850, for Henry Deringer (1786-1868), U.S. gunsmith who invented it in the 1840s; prevailing misspelled form is how his name appeared on the many counterfeits and imitations. "A small pistol with a large bore, very effective at short range" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper