from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A pistol having a revolving cylinder with several cartridge chambers that may be fired in succession.
  • noun One that revolves, as a part of a mechanism.
  • noun A revolving credit agreement.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who or that which revolves.
  • noun Specifically— A revolving firearm, especially a pistol, having a revolving barrel provided with a number of bores (as in earlier styles of the weapon), or (as in modern forms) a single barrel with a revolving cylinder at its base, provided with a number of chambers.
  • noun A revolving cannon.
  • noun A revolving horse-rake.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who, or that which, revolves; specifically, a firearm ( commonly a pistol) with several chambers or barrels so arranged as to revolve on an axis, and be discharged in succession by the same lock; a repeater.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A handgun with a revolving chamber enabling several shots to be fired without reloading.
  • noun Agent noun of revolve; something that revolves.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a pistol with a revolving cylinder (usually having six chambers for bullets)
  • noun a door consisting of four orthogonal partitions that rotate about a central pivot; a door designed to equalize the air pressure in tall buildings


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • WORD: revolver


    (1) " A handgun with a revolving chamber enabling several shots to be fired without reloading. " -- Wiktionary

    (2) " A tool whose only purpose is to make holes in human beings" -- Kurt Vonnegut. This machine is comprised of a handgrip, a revolving cyclinder containing chemically powered projectiles, a trigger mechanism, and a tube, which is used to direct the projectiles towards some hapless target -- which hopefully is not another human being.

    If you really want to know about America's sick addiction to the handgun, a real eye-opener is Robert Sherrill's 1973 exposé The Saturday night special -- And other guns with which Americans won the West, protected bootleg franchises, slew wildlife, robbed countless banks, ... with the debate over continuing same.


    ' Dwayne's bad chemicals made him take a loaded thirty-eight caliber revolver from under his pillow and stick it in his mouth. This was a tool whose only purpose was to make holes in human beings . . .

    ' In Dwayne's part of the planet, anybody who wanted one could get one down at his local hardware store. Policemen all had them. So did the criminals. So did the people caught in between.

    ' Criminals would point guns at people and say, "Give me all your money," and the people usually would. And policemen would point their guns at criminals and say, "Stop" or whatever the situation called for, and the criminals usually would. Sometimes they wouldn't. Sometimes a wife would get so mad at her husband that she would put a hole in him with a gun. Sometimes a husband would get so mad at his wife that he would put a hole in her. And so on.

    ' In the same week Dwayne Hoover ran amok, a fourteen-year-old Midland City boy put holes in his mother and father because he didn't want to show them the bad report card he had brought home. His lawyer planned to enter a plea of temporary insanity, which meant that at the time of the shooting, the boy was unable to distinguish the difference between right and wrong.

    ' Sometimes people would put holes in famous people so they could be at least fairly famous, too. Sometimes people would get on airplanes which were supposed to fly to someplace, and they would offer to put holes in the pilot and co-pilot unless they flew the airplane to someplace else.

    ' Dwayne held the muzzle of the gun in his mouth for a while. He tasted oil. The gun was loaded and cocked. There were neat little metal packages containing charcoal, potassium nitrate and sulphur only inches from his brains. He had only to trip a lever, and the powder would turn to gas. The gas would blow a chunk of lead down a tube and through Dwayne's brains.'

    -- From Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions -- Chapter 4 (pages 49 - 50).

    August 31, 2013