From gun +‎ fire.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɡʌnfʌɪə/
  • (file)


gunfire (usually uncountable, plural gunfires)

  1. Shots from a gun or guns, typically creating loud report.
    Let's hide in the trees to avoid the gunfire.
    Sergeant, direct your gunfire toward that copse of trees.
  2. (chiefly military) The use of gunpowder-type weapons, mainly cannon, as opposed to swords or bayonets.
    Killing people became much easier and faster once armies started using gunfire.
  3. (military) The time of firing of the morning gun or the evening gun.
    • 1851, W. Draper Bolton, Bolton's Mauritius almanac, and official directory:
      Art. 33. All Plying boats, with the exception of two which are to be weekly appoin[t]ed by the Chief Commissary of Police and Harbour Master, and at gunfire in the evening to be placed in a tier alongside of the Quay or at a place to be pointed out by these Officers and fastened by a claim and a padlock, the key of which is to be kept by the Porter on duty or by the Police Guard who is to release them at gunfire in the morning.
    • 1864, Edmund Burke (editor), The Annual Register; A review of public events at home and abroad, for the year 1863:
      The grand event on the 14th was the shooting for the second stage for the Queen's prize. This commenced punctually at gunfire in the morning : the men being divided into four squads at the long ranges on the north side of the common.
  4. (army slang) Tea, a cup of tea, especially one served early in the morning before first parade.
    • 1937, David Jones, In Parenthesis, I:
      They had only in them the rolled mattresses, the neatly piled bed-boards and the empty tea-buckets of the orderly-men, empied of their last gun-fire.

Related termsEdit