The weapon is used by inserting the projectile inside the pipe (known as a blowgun) and using the force created by one's breath to give the projectile momentum. Its propulsive power is limited by the user's respiratory muscles.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Blowgun \Blow"gun`\, n. A tube, as of cane or reed, sometimes twelve feet long, through which an arrow (sometimes poisoned) or other projectile may be impelled by the force of the breath. It is a weapon much used by certain Indians of America and the West Indies; -- called also blowpipe, and blowtube. See Sumpitan.
n. a hollow tube through which a dart or similar missile may be blown
Usage examples of "blowgun".
When next the moon rises full, the children of the forest shall be there, and they shall be armed with knives and blowguns and assagais as you showed me.
Two of his sons have gone to the forest, shouldering their skillfully-made blowguns in search of meat to feed the fifteen or twenty Auca Indians who are at present in this clearing.
The study floor bore a scattering of tiger, lion, polar bear and other animal skins, while mounted heads of ovis poli, bighorn sheep, wapiti--trophies from numerous climes--were arrayed on the walls, together with heavy spears from the Congo, blowguns from the Amazon headwaters, and elaborately carved swords from China.
The ambush caught the rets by surprise, and a handful were killed by bows and arrows and blowguns before the remainder had a chance to take cover.
I bought ten dozen bamboo blowguns with pigskin quivers, four bamboo darts in each quiver.
Ivory, wood, or metal, and ornamented or not, a blowgun was a blowgun wherever you found it, and blowguns shot ugly little darts, generally poisoned.
In that time it had progressed to the point of inventing workable dart blowguns and poisoned daggers.
He must have shot you with a blowgun, probably with a dart dipped in something like curare.
If you do not, the Amazons will not object to my stopping you with the blowgun that I used on Dr.
No pirate in any sea could handle a certain weapon, a long hollow tube that the tattooed pirate called a blowgun, better than Tee-a-nicknick.
The tattooed man brought the blowgun up to his lips the second Deudermont exited the tavern.
Creeps led his friend to the shadows by a dormer on the building, where they deposited the blowgun and poison.
After tucking the sophisticated blowgun into his belt, he rushed to where the two women lay motionless.
After sticking both darts firmly into the cork on the side of the blowgun, he pulled the women behind the vehicle, where they would be out of sight while he worked.
There was not a native to be seen now, for they were hiding behind the trees of the jungle, but every now and then a blowgun barb would whizz out of the forest.