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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Gun \Gun\ (g[u^]n), n. [OE. gonne, gunne; of uncertain origin; cf. Ir., Gael., & LL. gunna, W. gum; possibly (like cannon) fr. L. canna reed, tube; or abbreviated fr. OF. mangonnel, E. mangonel, a machine for hurling stones.]

  1. A weapon which throws or propels a missile to a distance; any firearm or instrument for throwing projectiles, consisting of a tube or barrel closed at one end, in which the projectile is placed, with an explosive charge (such as guncotton or gunpowder) behind, which is ignited by various means. Pistols, rifles, carbines, muskets, and fowling pieces are smaller guns, for hand use, and are called small arms. Larger guns are called cannon, ordnance, fieldpieces, carronades, howitzers, etc. See these terms in the Vocabulary.

    As swift as a pellet out of a gunne When fire is in the powder runne.

    The word gun was in use in England for an engine to cast a thing from a man long before there was any gunpowder found out.

  2. (Mil.) A piece of heavy ordnance; in a restricted sense, a cannon.

  3. pl. (Naut.) Violent blasts of wind.

    Note: Guns are classified, according to their construction or manner of loading as rifled or smoothbore, breech-loading or muzzle-loading, cast or built-up guns; or according to their use, as field, mountain, prairie, seacoast, and siege guns.

    Armstrong gun, a wrought iron breech-loading cannon named after its English inventor, Sir William Armstrong.

    Big gun or Great gun, a piece of heavy ordnance; hence (Fig.), a person superior in any way; as, bring in the big guns to tackle the problem.

    Gun barrel, the barrel or tube of a gun.

    Gun carriage, the carriage on which a gun is mounted or moved.

    Gun cotton (Chem.), a general name for a series of explosive nitric ethers of cellulose, obtained by steeping cotton in nitric and sulphuric acids. Although there are formed substances containing nitric acid radicals, yet the results exactly resemble ordinary cotton in appearance. It burns without ash, with explosion if confined, but quietly and harmlessly if free and open, and in small quantity. Specifically, the lower nitrates of cellulose which are insoluble in ether and alcohol in distinction from the highest (pyroxylin) which is soluble. See Pyroxylin, and cf. Xyloidin. The gun cottons are used for blasting and somewhat in gunnery: for making celluloid when compounded with camphor; and the soluble variety (pyroxylin) for making collodion. See Celluloid, and Collodion. Gun cotton is frequenty but improperly called nitrocellulose. It is not a nitro compound, but an ester of nitric acid.

    Gun deck. See under Deck.

    Gun fire, the time at which the morning or the evening gun is fired.

    Gun metal, a bronze, ordinarily composed of nine parts of copper and one of tin, used for cannon, etc. The name is also given to certain strong mixtures of cast iron.

    Gun port (Naut.), an opening in a ship through which a cannon's muzzle is run out for firing.

    Gun tackle (Naut.), the blocks and pulleys affixed to the side of a ship, by which a gun carriage is run to and from the gun port.

    Gun tackle purchase (Naut.), a tackle composed of two single blocks and a fall.

    Krupp gun, a wrought steel breech-loading cannon, named after its German inventor, Herr Krupp.

    Machine gun, a breech-loading gun or a group of such guns, mounted on a carriage or other holder, and having a reservoir containing cartridges which are loaded into the gun or guns and fired in rapid succession. In earlier models, such as the Gatling gun, the cartridges were loaded by machinery operated by turning a crank. In modern versions the loading of cartidges is accomplished by levers operated by the recoil of the explosion driving the bullet, or by the pressure of gas within the barrel. Several hundred shots can be fired in a minute by such weapons, with accurate aim. The Gatling gun, Gardner gun, Hotchkiss gun, and Nordenfelt gun, named for their inventors, and the French mitrailleuse, are machine guns.

    To blow great guns (Naut.), to blow a gale. See Gun, n., 3.

  1. (context firearms English) Having a spiral on the interior of a gun bore to make a fired bullet spin in flight to improve range and accuracy. v

  2. (en-past of: rifle)


adj. of a firearm; having rifling or internal spiral grooves inside the barrel [ant: unrifled]

Usage examples of "rifled".

His multi-shot hackbuts won or all but won at least two full-scale battles for English arms, and his large-bore breech-loading rifled cannon are on the way to revolutionizing naval warfare, not to even mention the advances in other, less warlike, directions that his endless experiments are turning out, like that light but sturdy and comfortable springed carriage there, that Buddy Webster came down here in.

As his host listened and asked questions, Tiny Idaho rifled through a series of tool chests and parts drawers, pulling out lengths of wire, a soldering iron, and a digital timer.

A short, silent black man was stoking the fire, while a couple of the teenagers rifled the packs for food.

Ivan Motkin, agent of the Moscow Reds, had captured Michael Senov, the leader of the Czarist invaders who had rifled the Bolshevik storage vault.

The pockets of their sodden cloaks and galligaskins were being rifled by those too small or infirm to loot the greater riches of the washed-up chests.

Skalan merchants were harassed in Mycenian towns, warehouses were rifled or burned.

She rifled through the other parcels, seeking some explanation of how Nicobar had come to be here.

The rifled cannon in service have the breech-sight on the side of the breech and the front sight on the rimbase, which permits the gun to be accurately aimed and the object kept in view at all elevations.

The reports showing the superiority of this gun and projectile, both as regards range, accuracy, and execution, for field service over that of all others at the battle of Fort Donelson, leads me to request that there be furnished to the State of Illinois in the shortest time practicable seven batteries of 12-pounder calibre James rifled guns, with carriages, harness, implements, etc.

Some analysts have suggested that the Confederate guns, made up of eleven smoothbores and two rifled guns, were actually more suited to close work than the nine rifled and two smoothbore cannon of the Union batteries.

I slipped one of the audiotapes in my sweater pocket, then rifled through the pamphlets: There were between six and ten banded copies of each one, so I helped myself to one of each - the better to know the place where I was doing my job, I rationalized - then stuck them in my pocket, too.

One night about nine or ten, there came two short, sharp peals of thunder, that sounded precisely like the reports of rifled field pieces.

Then the rest of them rifled in, and on the ground the rotors had the appearance of spidersblack bulgy bodies and pop-eyes and fangy jaws and slender bow legs.

Bernie handed her the staple gun, and she rifled in fifteen silver staples to close the skin.

One of the storehouses was emptied of its contents and fired, and by its light the arms and armour of the Roman soldiers were collected, the huts and tents rifled of everything of value, the storehouses emptied of their stores of grain and provisions, and of the tools that had been used for the building of boats.