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From Spanish guerrilla, diminutive of guerra (war), coined during the Peninsular war.



guerrilla (plural guerrillas)

  1. A soldier in a small independent group, fighting against the government or regular forces by surprise raids.
  2. (now rare) A non-official war carried out by small independent groups; a guerrilla war.



guerrilla (comparative more guerrilla, superlative most guerrilla)

  1. (military) Relating to, using, or typical of guerrilla warfare, or its principles of small independent or non-official perpetrators.
    • 1908, George Devereux Oswell, Sketches of Rulers of India, volume I, Chapter VII, page 127:
      Wherever Nicholson was most wanted, there he was sure to be found. What his life was at this time may be seen from a letter he wrote to his mother: 'I am leading a very guerrilla sort of life with seven hundred horse and foot raised among the people of the country. The chieftain who is in rebellion has eight regular regiments and sixteen guns, so that I am unable to meet them openly in the field.'
    • Mao Zedong, The Red Book of Guerrilla Warfare, translated by Samuel B. Griffith, edited by Shawn Conners, ISBN 1-934255-27-0, page 14:
      On the other hand, after the fall of Feng Ling Tu, the operations of Central Shansi, and Suiyuan, troops were more guerrilla than orthodox in nature.
    • 1976, Walter Laqueur, Guerrilla warfare: a historical & critical study, page 205:
      The Slovak uprising in the latter days was not guerrilla in character, which, incidentally, may have been one of the reasons for its failure.
  2. (marketing) Relating to, using, or typical of guerrilla marketing.
    • 1989, Michael Wiese, Film & video marketing, page 445:
      We took a very guerrilla approach to marketing Goin' Hollywood, in keeping with the irreverent tone of the game.
    • 2005 February 28, “Firefox Continues To Chip Away At IE's Share”, in InformationWeek:
      "Mozilla's marketing has been very guerrilla. You're not seeing it spend millions of dollars on TV. Instead, it's a powerful ground swell.
    • 2010 February 26, “A serious woman”, in The Times:
      My style is more guerrilla. I grew up in a village, a very suppressed environment. I was like one of those young kids who hated the whole conventional way of doing things. So when I started to make films it was very hand-made, very fast.”

See alsoEdit



guerra +‎ -illa


  • (Castilian) IPA(key): /ɡeˈriʎa/
  • (Latin America) IPA(key): /ɡeˈriɟ͡ʝa/, [ɡeˈriʝa]
  • Hyphenation: gue‧rri‧lla


guerrilla f (plural guerrillas)

  1. guerrilla (small official or unofficial military troop)
  2. guerrilla war

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit