Minuteman

[min-it-man]
noun, plural Min·ute·men.
  1. (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.
  2. a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile with three stages, powered by solid-propellant rocket engines.
  3. 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. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for minutemen

Minuteman

noun plural -men
  1. (sometimes not capital) (in the War of American Independence) a colonial militiaman who promised to be ready to fight at one minute's notice
  2. 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 minutemen

minuteman

n.

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

minutemen in Culture

Minutemen

Armed American civilians who were active in the Revolutionary War and in the period just preceding the war. They were named Minutemen because they were ready to fight alongside regular soldiers at a moment's notice. The Minutemen of Massachusetts were especially well known. (See Battle of Lexington and Concord.)

Note

During the cold war, the name “Minuteman” was given to a United States missile held ready for launching in the event of a nuclear attack.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.