See more synonyms for handgun on Thesaurus.com

Origin of handgun

First recorded in 1400–50, handgun is from the late Middle English word handgone. See hand, gun1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for handgun

Contemporary Examples of handgun

Historical Examples of handgun

  • It's difficult to fire a handgun accurately while in motion.

  • The first portable arms were the cannon and handgun, both adjusted to very heavy, straight butt-ends and very difficult to handle.

    The Spell of Belgium

    Isabel Anderson

  • He was feeling too cheerful to use his rightful advantage over them, and decided to use a handgun, since they had nothing better.

    World Without War

    E. G. von Wald

  • "Ewyo dies if I'm touched," said Revel coolly, pointing the handgun at the squire's belly.

    The Buttoned Sky

    Geoff St. Reynard

  • Homer came to his feet and handgun in fist made a dash for the front entrance.

    Black Man's Burden

    Dallas McCord Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for handgun


  1. a firearm that can be held, carried, and fired with one hand, such as a pistol
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 handgun

1680s, from hand (n.) + gun (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper