blunderbuss

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English[edit]

A flintlock blunderbuss

Etymology[edit]

From Dutch donderbus (blunderbuss, literally thunder gun). Altered under the influence of blunder.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

blunderbuss (plural blunderbusses)

  1. An old style of muzzleloading firearm and early form of shotgun with a distinctive short, large caliber barrel that is flared at the muzzle, therefore able to fire scattered quantities of nails, stones, shot, etc. at short range.
    • 1817, Merriweather Lewis & William Clark, Travels to the Source of the Missouri River, and Across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown (1817), page 354:
      We fired the blunderbuss several times by way of salute, and soon after landed at the bank near the village of the Mahahas, or Shoe Indians, and were received by a crowd of people, who came to welcome our return.
    • 1942, Carl G. Erich, "Flintlock Blunderbuss", Popular Science, June 1942:
      One of the most picturesque of the old flintlock guns is the blunderbuss, which was often carried by coach guards for protection against highwaymen.
    • 2007, Norm Flayderman, Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms, Gun Digest Books (2007), ISBN 9781440226519, page 764:
      The blunderbuss never gained great favor in the American colonies or early United States.

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