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gunpowder

[guhn-pou-der]
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noun
  1. an explosive mixture, as of potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal, used in shells and cartridges, in fireworks, for blasting, etc.
  2. Also called gunpowder tea. a fine variety of green China tea, each leaf of which is rolled into a little ball.
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Origin of gunpowder

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at gun1, powder1
Related formsgun·pow·der·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gunpowder

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was also a large supply of gunpowder, ball, and shot, and coal and wood in abundance.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • Don't touch the gunpowder till you're told, or you'll get your head smacked.

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

  • There you see a heap of gunpowder in the centre of our large flame.

    The Story of a Tinder-box

    Charles Meymott Tidy

  • As well put a match to a gunpowder barrel to warm your fingers.

  • The flash of a pinch of gunpowder in your face may be a bigger matter.

    The Arrow of Gold

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for gunpowder

gunpowder

noun
  1. an explosive mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulphur (typical proportions are 75:15:10): used in time fuses, blasting, and fireworksAlso called: black powder
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Derived Formsgunpowdery, adjective
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 gunpowder

n.

early 15c., from gun (n.) + powder (n.). The Gunpowder Plot was the conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605, while the King, Lords and Commons were assembled there.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper