Definition of pistol in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɪst(ə)l/


1A small firearm designed to be held in one hand.
Example sentences
  • Williams was carrying a loaded air pistol in his pocket.
  • The business man agreed as he pulled out a laser pistol from his back holster.
  • Aruna pulled out a small pistol from a shoulder holster.
revolver, gun, handgun, side arm;
informal gat
North American informal piece, shooting iron, Saturday night special, rod, roscoe
trademark Colt, Webley, Luger
2US informal A very energetic or enterprising person: when we first met, he was a pistol, full of ideals and a natural leader
More example sentences
  • Matilda, who early on threatens to be a real pistol of a character, becomes the stereotypical, eccentric spinster auntie who teaches her charges useful life lessons in between subjecting them to her annoying habits and quirky behavior.
  • I knew the last surviving daughter as well and she was a pistol, married eight times, a former flapper from the Twenties.
  • She'd scale short walls. Anything to get out of that place. Not because it was so terrible. But, because she could. She was a pistol.

verb (pistols, pistolling, pistolled; US pistols, pistoling, pistoled)

[with object] dated
Shoot (someone) with a pistol.
Example sentences
  • In fact he pistolled the wounded Fraser at Culloden and the officers celebrated by splashing themselves in Highland blood.


Mid 16th century: from obsolete French pistole, from German Pistole, from Czech pišt'ala, of which the original meaning was 'whistle', hence 'a firearm' by the resemblance in shape.

  • Pistol is a rare example of an early borrowing from Czech, from pišt'ala, ‘whistle, pipe’. The Hussite Wars in the 15th century were the first wars in which hand-held guns were of significance, and it is at this time that pišt'ala was used to describe a type of gun with a clear-sounding shot. The word rapidly spread through Europe and arrived in English via French.

Words that rhyme with pistol

Bristol, Chrystal, crystal

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pis¦tol

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