1. A weapon which throws or propels a missile to a distance; any firearm or instrument for throwing projectiles by the explosion of gunpowder, consisting of a tube or barrel closed at one end, in which the projectile is placed, with an explosive charge behind, which is ignited by various means. Muskets, rifles, carbines, 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. (Chaucer) 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. (Selden)
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. Great gun, a piece of heavy ordnance; hence (Fig), a person superior in any way. Gun barrel, the barrel or tube of a gun. Gun carriage, the carriage on which a gun is mounted 583
Origin: oe. Gonne, gunne; of uncertain origin; cf. Ir, Gael) a LL. Gunna, W. Gum; possibly (like cannon) fr. L. Canna reed, tube; or abbreviated fr. OF. Mangonnel, E. Mangonel, a machine for hurling stones.