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From Middle English wepen, from Old English wǣpn, from Proto-West Germanic *wāpn, from Proto-Germanic *wēpną (“weapon”), of unknown origin, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *wēbnom. Cognate with Scots wapyn, wappen (“weapon”), West Frisian wapen (“weapon”), Dutch wapen (“weapon; coat of arms”), Low German wapen (“weapon”), German Waffe (“weapon”) and Wappen (“coat of arms”), Danish våben (“weapon; coat of arms”) Swedish vapen (“weapon; coat of arms”), Norwegian Bokmål våpen (“weapon”), Icelandic vopn (“weapon”).
- IPA(key): /ˈwɛp.ən/
- (obsolete) IPA(key): /ˈwiːp.ən/
- Hyphenation: weap‧on
weapon (plural weapons)
- An instrument of attack or defense in combat or hunting, e.g. most guns, missiles, or swords; arm.
- The club that is now mostly used for golf was once a common weapon.
- 2013 July 20, “Old soldiers?”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
- Whether modern, industrial man is less or more warlike than his hunter-gatherer ancestors is impossible to determine. […] One thing that is true, though, is that murder rates have fallen over the centuries, as policing has spread and the routine carrying of weapons has diminished. Modern society may not have done anything about war. But peace is a lot more peaceful.
- An instrument or other means of harming or exerting control over another.
- Money is the main weapon of modern oligarchs.
- 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
- “[…] it is not fair of you to bring against mankind double weapons ! Dangerous enough you are as woman alone, without bringing to your aid those gifts of mind suited to problems which men have been accustomed to arrogate to themselves.”
- 2011 January 15, Phil Dawkes, “Stoke 2-0 Bolton”, in BBC:
- Rory Delap's long throw-ins are a familiar weapon to the Potters' opponents but this does not make them any easier to defend against.
- (informal, humorous) A tool of any kind.
- Choose your weapon.
- (Britain, slang, derogatory) An idiot, an oaf, a fool, a tool; a contemptible or incompetent person.
- (Australia, slang) A very skilled, competent, or capable person or thing worthy of awe.
- 2006 May 12, Joshua Dowling, “Brains or brawn”, in The Sydney Morning Herald:
- It has a whopping 5.4-litre V8, with a supercharger bolted to the top of it to help low-end pulling power. In short, it's a weapon and will happily dust a Porsche as easy as brushing your teeth.
- 2016 November 21, Marcus Tamp, “Hardcore 2016 Focus: Vices”, in The Music:
- We played Endless Heights' record release show earlier this year and during their set Christian from Endless Heights' lung collapsed, but he finished the set like an absolute weapon.
- 2020 October 1, Alley Pascoe, “Megan Washington's Love Letter To RuPaul”, in Marie Claire:
- I adore her in Easter Parade and Meet Me in St. Louis, but my favourite performance of hers is her concert at [New York’s] Carnegie Hall. She’s a total weapon on that stage.
- 2021 April 20, Will Swanton, “From one goofy-footer to another: American Caroline Marks 'stoked' to win Narrabeen Classic”, in The Australian:
- American teenager Caroline Marks was trotting across the sand on her dream day at North Narrabeen when Luke Egan called out to her: "You weapon!" [...] Egan was mentoring Marks in between commentary stints. He was one of the people to chair the weapon up the beach, calling out to her: "What did I tell you!"
- See also Thesaurus:weapon
- ABC weapon
- anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW)
- anti-tank weapon
- assault weapon
- atomic weapon
- binary weapon
- biological weapon
- chemical weapon
- cold weapon
- conventional weapon
- crew-served weapon
- digital weapon
- doomsday weapon
- energy weapon
- mass destruction weapon
- murder weapon
- nuclear weapon
- personal defense weapon
- radiological weapon
- ranged weapon
- section automatic weapon
- siege weapon
- space weapon
- squad automatic weapon
- tectonic weapon
- thermobaric weapon
- thermonuclear weapon
- weapon of mass destruction (WMD)
- weapon of wholesale destruction
instrument of attack or defense in combat
means of harming or exerting control
weapon (third-person singular simple present weapons, present participle weaponing, simple past and past participle weaponed)
- (transitive) To equip with a weapon; to arm.
- 1868, Henry Wilson, History of the Reconstruction Measures of the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, 1865-68, page 425:
- […] the friends of the country and of the equal rights of all men, the friends of enfranchising the black man and of weaponing his hand for defense; the friends of taking the governments of these rebel States out of the hands of their rebel possessors, […]
- ^ Krapp, George Philip (1925) The English Language in America, volume II, New York: Century Co. for the Modern Language Association of America, →OCLC, page 91.
- ^ Hall, Joseph Sargent (March 2, 1942), “1. The Vowel Sounds of Stressed Syllables”, in The Phonetics of Great Smoky Mountain Speech (American Speech: Reprints and Monographs; 4), New York: King's Crown Press, →DOI, →ISBN, § 4, page 21.
- English terms inherited from Middle English
- English terms derived from Middle English
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- English terms derived from Old English
- English terms inherited from Proto-West Germanic
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- English terms derived from Proto-Germanic
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English 2-syllable words
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