Share this entry

Share this page

pistol

Line breaks: pis¦tol
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪst(ə)l
 
/

Definition of pistol in English:

noun

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.
Synonyms
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
  • This gal is really a pistol...She wants everything.
  • My daughter Maria is 8 years old and she's a pistol.
  • That 94-year-old grandmother is the subject of the article, and apparently she's a pistol.

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

[with object] dated Back to top  
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.

Origin

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.

More
  • 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

Definition of pistol in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rəˈzilyənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…