From Middle English wepen, from Old English wǣpn, 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), Swedish vapen (weapon), Icelandic vopn (weapon).


  • IPA(key): /ˈwɛ.pən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛpən
  • Hyphenation: weap‧on


weapon (plural weapons)

  1. 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.
  2. 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 639762314, page 0029:
      “[…] 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.
  3. (informal, humorous) A tool of any kind.
    Choose your weapon.
  4. (Scotland, Britain, slang, derogatory) An idiot, an oaf, a fool, a tool; a contemptible or incompetent person.



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weapon (third-person singular simple present weapons, present participle weaponing, simple past and past participle weaponed)

  1. (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, []

See alsoEdit

  weapon on Wikipedia.Wikipedia