Gatling gun



an early type of machine gun consisting of a revolving cluster of barrels around a central axis, each barrel being automatically loaded and fired every revolution of the cluster.

Origin of Gatling gun

1860–65, Americanism; named after R. J. Gatling (1818–1903), U.S. inventor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for gatling gun

MG, Uzi, mitrailleuse

Examples from the Web for gatling gun

Historical Examples of gatling gun

  • Ef it's sport ye want, get a single-shot rifle, ef it's destruction, get a Gatling-gun.

    Two Little Savages

    Ernest Thompson Seton

  • There was a Gatling-gun, worked by a young officer and five men, a few hundred yards to the right at the edge of the woods.

    Captain Jinks, Hero

    Ernest Crosby

British Dictionary definitions for gatling gun

Gatling gun


a hand-cranked automatic machine gun equipped with a rotating cluster of barrels that are fired in succession using brass cartridges

Word Origin for Gatling gun

C19: named after R. J. Gatling (1818–1903), its US inventor
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 gatling gun

Gatling gun

1870, named for designer Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling (1818-1903); patented by 1862 but not used in American Civil War until the Petersburg campaign of June 1864 as an independent initiative by U.S. Gen. Ben Butler.

For the first time in this war, the Gatling gun was used by Butler in repelling one of Beauregard's midnight attacks. Dispatches state that it was very destructive, and rebel prisoners were very curious to know whether it was loaded all night and fired all day. ... Gatling, like Mann, has found it very difficult to get fair trials of his gun, and to have it introduced by the War Department, for the Government leaves all such things to the Ordnance Office, and that office is under the control of old fogies, who work by red tape, and who are slow to perceive the value of ordnance improvements, and still slower to introduce them into practice. ["Scientific American," June 18, 1864]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper