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

Definition of pistol in English:


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
  • 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.


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

Definition of pistol in:

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