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pistol

[pis-tl]
See more synonyms for pistol on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a short firearm intended to be held and fired with one hand.
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verb (used with object), pis·toled, pis·tol·ing or (especially British) pis·tolled, pis·tol·ling.
  1. to shoot with a pistol.
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Origin of pistol

1560–70; < Middle French pistole < German, earlier pitschal, pitschole, petsole < Czech píšt’ala literally, pipe, fife, whistle (presumably a slang term for a type of light harquebus employed during the Hussite wars), akin to pištět to squeak, peep
Related formspis·tol·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

rod, gun, firearm, handgun, piece, six-shooter, forty-five, thirty-eight

Examples from the Web for pistol

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Katherine handed Austin the pistol which she had taken from Dick's hand.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • A moment later, when he was alone, he uncocked the pistol--Dick's pistol.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • He leaped toward Garson—would have wrenched the pistol from the other's grasp.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He sprang to the octagonal window, even as Dick took possession of the pistol.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • His hand slipped into the pocket where was the pistol, and clutched it.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana


British Dictionary definitions for pistol

pistol

noun
  1. a short-barrelled handgun
  2. hold a pistol to a person's head to threaten a person in order to force him to do what one wants
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verb -tols, -tolling or -tolled or US -tols, -toling or -toled
  1. (tr) to shoot with a pistol
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Word Origin

C16: from French pistole, from German, from Czech pišt'ala pistol, pipe; related to Russian pischal shepherd's pipes
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 pistol

n.

"small hand-held firearm," 1570s, from Middle French pistole "short firearm" (1566), of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be from German Pistole, from Czech pis'tala "firearm," literally "tube, pipe," from pisteti "to whistle," of imitative origin, related to Russian pischal "shepherd's pipe."

But earlier English form pistolet (1550) is said to be from Middle French pistolet "a small firearm," also "a small dagger," which may be the literal sense; though some connect this word with Italian pistolese, in reference to Pistoia, town in Tuscany noted for gunsmithing. Pistol-whip (v.) is first recorded 1942.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper