• synonyms


  1. the exchange of gunshots, usually with intent to wound or kill.
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Origin of gunplay

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85; gun1 + play
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gunplay

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • You're up against something now that gunplay doesn't figure in.

    The Grain Ship

    Morgan Robertson

  • The crowd blinked; but when it opened its eyes the gunplay had not occurred.

  • He had watched the Hawk's gunplay with an awe-stricken face; its speed never failed to amaze him.

    The Passing of Ku Sui

    Anthony Gilmore

  • He explains that gunplay gravitates to men who are the real thing—that it is provoked by the four-flushes, the bad men.

  • He was a keen boy with a hair-trigger balance, and in a gunplay he would be apt to beat the best of them all.

British Dictionary definitions for gunplay


  1. mainly US the use of firearms, as by criminals
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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 gunplay


also gun-play, 1891, from gun (n.) + play (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper