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guerilla

[guh-ril-uh]
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noun, adjective
  1. guerrilla.
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Related formsgue·ril·la·ism, noun

guerrilla

or gue·ril·la

[guh-ril-uh]
noun
  1. a member of a band of irregular soldiers that uses guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication and supply lines, etc.
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adjective
  1. pertaining to such fighters or their technique of warfare: guerrilla strongholds; guerrilla tactics.
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Origin of guerrilla

1800–10; < Spanish, diminutive of guerra war (< Germanic; cf. war1); orig. in reference to the Spanish resistance against Napoleon; the name for the struggle erroneously taken as a personal noun
Related formsguer·ril·la·ism, nounan·ti·guer·ril·la, noun, adjectivecoun·ter·guer·ril·la, adjective
Can be confusedgorilla guerrilla
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

culpritoffendercrookhooliganfugitivegangsterhoodlumfelonthugconvictmobsterlawbreakerheavyhustlerdelinquentdesperadotrespassermugracketeerhood

Examples from the Web for guerilla

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Dick believed from his gesture that he did not like the guerilla leader, or at least he hoped so.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • No, he's Federal, Confederate or guerilla as it may suit his bloody ends.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • His company was sent to break up a band of guerilla rancheros at Antigua.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • These places have been occupied for some time past by Mosby's guerilla bands.

  • "It will be just the work to suit us," the guerilla chief said.


British Dictionary definitions for guerilla

guerrilla

guerilla

noun
    1. a member of an irregular usually politically motivated armed force that combats stronger regular forces, such as the army or police
    2. (as modifier)guerrilla warfare
  1. a form of vegetative spread in which the advance is from several individual rhizomes or stolons growing rapidly away from the centre, as in some cloversCompare phalanx
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Derived Formsguerrillaism or guerillaism, noun

Word Origin

C19: from Spanish, diminutive of guerra war
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 guerilla

n.

variant of guerrilla (q.v.); cf. French guérilla.

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guerrilla

n.

"fighter in an irregular, independent armed force," 1809, from Spanish guerrilla "body of skirmishers, skirmishing warfare," literally "little war," diminutive of guerra "war," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German werra "strife, conflict, war;" see war). Figurative use by 1861. As an adjective from 1811. Acquired by English during the Peninsular War (1808-1814); purists failed in their attempt to keep this word restricted to "irregular warfare" and prevent it taking on the sense properly belonging to guerrillero "guerrilla fighter."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper