[ tey-zer ]
/ ˈteɪ zər /
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Often TASER . a brand name for a gunlike device that uses propelled wires or direct contact to electrically stun and incapacitate a person temporarily.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a Taser?

A Taser is an electric weapon that stuns its human or animal target by direct contact or with wired barbs that are shot from the device.

The word Taser is a trademark for a brand, but in common usage it is used to refer to any such device and is often used as a synonym for stun gun. When used this way, it’s usually not capitalized (taser). Sometimes, though, it’s spelled in all capitals (TASER).

Tasers are typically associated with their use by police. Civilians have also adopted such weapons for self-defense.

Where does Taser come from?

Taser was coined in the 1970s by its inventor, Jack Cover, who named it with an acronym based on the 1911 book that partly inspired the weapon: Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle. The A was added to make the acronym pronounceable. (You can read more about the book and the name here.)

The Taser was developed as a gun alternative, and it and similar weapons have become widespread in law enforcement as an alternative way to incapacitate suspects. While the Taser and similar devices have been called a “nonlethal” or “less lethal” alternative to guns, tasing someone can still injure or kill them. For this reason, the use of Tasers by police has been criticized.

An increase in the use of such devices coincided with the appearance of the verb form tase (taser is also sometimes used as a verb). Although the company that owns the Taser trademark objects to any change or differing use of the name, the verb tase has been in popular use since at least the 1990s.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to Taser?

  • taser (alternate spelling)
  • TASER (alternate spelling)

What are some synonyms for Taser?

What are some words that share a root or word element with Taser

What are some words that often get used in discussing Taser?

How is Taser used in real life?

Taser is most often used in the context of its use by police or for self-defense.



How to use Taser in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Taser

/ (ˈteɪzə) sometimes not capital /

trademark a weapon that fires electrical probes that give an electric shock, causing temporary paralysis
(tr) to stun (someone) with a taser
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