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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.


n. the coastal land bordering a sea or ocean


n. the shore of a sea or ocean [syn: seashore, coast, sea-coast]

Usage examples of "seacoast".

As we approach the seacoast, the well-known cities of Bugia and Tangier define the more certain limits of the Saracen victories.

If you go straight to the Seacoast, she will leave you and rush home to her village in the Weavers Landsand Moji will rush after her.

Brigands moved out of their fastnesses in the Crumples to intercept all but the most heavily guarded caravans travelling between Myrcia and the seacoast cities of Gebroan.

It was well prepared in advance, with soldiers carrying heavy loads on packboards hiking up the trails from the seacoast and from the short distance up the river that could be navigated by flat-bottomed boats.

Beyond the steppes which encompass the whole southern seacoast of Russia, from the Sea of Azof to the Danube, there spreads far inland a fertile region, embracing the whole or part of the Governments of Podolia, Poltava, Kharkof, Kief, Voronei, Don Cossacks, etc.

The worthy Obed tells us, that in the early times of the whale fishery, ere ships were regularly launched in pursuit of the game, the people of that island erected lofty spars along the seacoast, to which the look-outs ascended by means of nailed cleats, something as fowls go upstairs in a hen-house.

In those days the border between Eldidd and the lands of the Westfolk lay unmarked for most of its length, but down at the seacoast stood a stream called Y Brog, the Badger, and upon it, the westernmost human settlement, a town called Cannobaen.

From this point their roving bands made their way as far as the seacoast in the Clanwilliam direction, for they expected at Lambert's Bay to meet with a vessel with mercenaries and guns from Europe.

The bartender was an import from New Jersey who knew from nothing but Asbury Park, but Billy found a waitress who had lived in Maine all her life, was familiar with the seacoast, and loved to talk about it.

In the glens beside Tysan's seacoast, a boar's blood clots in matted grass.

Through the ship's glasshe had bought from a shop on the seacoast, he could makeout steep-walled houses and looping, arched walkways thatcut through the air between.

I prevailed on an old Indian to mark the Multnomah River down on the sand, which he did, and it perfectly corresponded with the sketch given me by sundry others, with the addition of a circular mountain which passes this river at the falls and connects with the mountains of the seacoast.

The real capital of the empire was located even farther south, but the Greatest Noble was staying, for the nonce, in a city nestled high in the mountains, well inland from the seacoast.

But it was in that sign, they said, that the Broken Lands and other satrapies along the seacoast had been lost.

But it was in that sign, they said, that the Broken Lands and other satrapies along the seacoast had been lost .