- (esp. in baseball) a player’s throwing arm.
- guns,the biceps or triceps of the arms: his big, muscular guns.
verb (used with object), gunned, gun·ning.
verb (used without object), gunned, gun·ning.
- to seek with intent to harm or kill.
- to seek; try earnestly to obtain: He is gunning for a raise.
- gun brig,
- gun camera,
- gun carriage,
- gun control,
- gun crew
- to begin a race before the starting signal.
- to begin prematurely; act too hastily.
Origin of gun1
- a weapon with a metallic tube or barrel from which a missile is discharged, usually by force of an explosion. It may be portable or mounted. In a military context the term applies specifically to a flat-trajectory artillery piece
- (as modifier)a gun barrel
- an expert
- (as modifier)a gun shearer; a gun batsman
- (of a runner, etc) to set off before the starting signal is given
- informalto act prematurely
verb guns, gunning or gunned
Word Origin for gun
mid-14c., gunne "an engine of war that throws rocks, arrows or other missiles," probably a shortening of woman's name Gunilda, found in Middle English gonnilde "cannon" and in an Anglo-Latin reference to a specific gun from a 1330 munitions inventory of Windsor Castle ("...una magna balista de cornu quae Domina Gunilda ..."), from Old Norse Gunnhildr, woman's name, from gunnr + hildr, both meaning "war, battle." First element from PIE *gwhen- "to strike, kill" (see bane); for second, cf. Hilda.
The identification of women with powerful weapons is common historically (cf. Big Bertha, Brown Bess, Mons Meg, etc.); meaning shifted with technology, from cannons to firearms as they developed 15c. Great guns (cannon, etc.) distinguished from small guns (such as muskets) from c.1400. Applied to pistols and revolvers after 1744. Meaning "thief, rascal" is from 1858. Son of a gun is originally nautical. To jump the gun (1912, American English) is from track and field. Guns "a woman's breasts" (especially if prominent) attested by 2006.
"to shoot with a gun," 1620s, from gun (n.); the sense of "to accelerate an engine" is from 1930, from earlier phrase to give (something) the gun. Related: Gunned; gunning.
under the gun
Under pressure to solve a problem or meet a deadline, as in The reporter was under the gun for that article on taxes. This idiom alludes to a gun being pointed at a person to force him or her to act. [Colloquial; c. 1900]
In addition to the idiom beginning with gun
- gun for
- gung ho
- at gunpoint
- big cheese (gun)
- great guns
- hired gun
- hold a gun to someone's head
- jump the gun
- smoking gun
- son of a bitch (gun)
- stick to one's guns
- under the gun