noun, plural Min·ute·men.

(sometimes lowercase) a member of a group of American militiamen just before and during the Revolutionary War who held themselves in readiness for instant military service.
a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile with three stages, powered by solid-propellant rocket engines.
a member of a small, secret, ultraconservative organization formed into armed groups for the declared purpose of conducting guerrilla warfare against a communist invasion of the U.S.

Origin of Minuteman

An Americanism dating back to 1765–75; minute1 + man1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for minuteman

Contemporary Examples of minuteman

  • At some point, Forde founded her own outfit, the Minuteman American Defense.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Arizona's Other Shooting Horror

    Terry Greene Sterling

    January 20, 2011

  • But I did find a photograph of my brother, dressed as a minuteman, and one of me in costume, too.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Tea Party History

    Jill Lepore

    October 5, 2010

Historical Examples of minuteman

  • The minuteman wanted to go back to ordinary life and his family.

    Average Americans

    Theodore Roosevelt

British Dictionary definitions for minuteman


noun plural -men

(sometimes not capital) (in the War of American Independence) a colonial militiaman who promised to be ready to fight at one minute's notice
a US three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile
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 minuteman

U.S. history, one of a class of militia available for immediate service (i.e. "ready in a matter of minutes"), 1774. As the name of a type of ICBM, from 1961, so called because they could be launched with very little preparation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper