son of a gun

noun,plural sons of guns.
  1. a rogue; rascal; scoundrel: That son of a gun still owes me $20.

  2. a tiresome or disagreeable matter, chore, etc.

  1. (used as an affectionate greeting, term of address, etc.): Charlie Humpelmeyer, you old son of a gun, how are you?

  1. (used as an exclamation of irritation, surprise, dismay, etc.)

Origin of son of a gun

First recorded in 1700–10; perhaps originally the illegitimate offspring of a soldier, though later influenced by British argot gun “thief”; cf. gun moll

Words Nearby son of a gun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use son of a gun in a sentence

  • But Lessard's a overbearin' son-of-a-gun all round, and he's always breakin' out in a new place.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Th' son-of-a-gun, he never said nothin' about it, an' me a fillin' his ornery paws with smokin'.

    Hopalong Cassidy's Rustler Round-Up | Clarence Edward Mulford
  • They made way for him, and Johnny, who could not restrain his enthusiasm pounded him on the back and cried: "Yu old son-of-a-gun!"

    Hopalong Cassidy's Rustler Round-Up | Clarence Edward Mulford
  • Travers used to describe one of these, whom he did not wish particularly to emphasize, as "a fairly clever son-of-a-gun."

    Marse Henry (Vol. 2) | Henry Watterson
  • You wouldnt have the nerve to think she is interested in you, would youyou homely son-of-a-gun?

    The Ranchman | Charles Alden Seltzer

British Dictionary definitions for son of a gun

son of a gun

nounplural sons of guns
  1. slang, mainly US and Canadian a rogue or rascal: used as a jocular form of address

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