or gun met·al

  1. any of various alloys or metallic substances with a dark gray or blackish color or finish, used for chains, belt buckles, etc.
  2. Also called gunmetal gray. a dark gray with bluish or purplish tinge.
  3. a bronze formerly much used for cannon.
  4. an alloy of 88 percent copper, 10 percent tin, and 2 percent zinc, cast or machined for use in valves, gears, and other parts.

Origin of gunmetal

First recorded in 1535–45; gun1 + metal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gun-metal

Historical Examples of gun-metal

British Dictionary definitions for gun-metal


  1. a type of bronze containing copper (88 per cent), tin (8–10 per cent), and zinc (2–4 per cent): used for parts that are subject to wear or to corrosion, esp by sea water
  2. any of various dark grey metals used for toys, belt buckles, etc
    1. a dark grey colour with a purplish or bluish tinge
    2. (as adjective)gunmetal chiffon
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 gun-metal

commonly an alloy of copper and zinc; used attributively of a dull blue-gray color since 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper