[guhn-suh l] /ˈgʌn səl/
a criminal armed with a gun.
noun (US, slang)
a stupid or inexperienced person, esp a youth
a criminal who carries a gun
1914, American English, from hobo slang, “a catamite;” specifically “a young male kept as a sexual companion, especially by an older tramp,” from Yiddish genzel, from German Gänslein “gosling, young goose.” The secondary, non-sexual meaning “young hoodlum” seems to be entirely traceable to Dashiell Hammett, who sneaked it into “The Maltese Falcon” (1929) while warring with his editor over the book’s racy language.
“Another thing,” Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: “Keep that gunsel away from me while you’re making up your mind. I’ll kill him.”
The context implies some connection with gun and a sense of “gunman,” and evidently the editor bought it. The word was retained in the script of the 1941 movie made from the book, so evidently the Motion Picture Production Code censors didn’t know it either.
The relationship between Kasper Gutman (Sidney Greenstreet) and his young hit-man companion, Wilmer Cook (Elisha Cook, Jr.), is made fairly clear in the movie, but the overt mention of sexual perversion would have been deleted if the censors hadn’t made the same mistaken assumption as Hammett’s editor. [Hugh Rawson, “Wicked Words,” 1989, p.184]
[fr Yiddish gantzel, ”gosling”]
(Variations: see gunsel1) An armed criminal; hoodlum: The reformed gunzl took a quick gander/ The gunsels killed each other off
[1950s+; fr a blend of gonif, gunsel1, gunman, etc]
[guhn-ship] /ˈgʌnˌʃɪp/ noun 1. a helicopter or fixed-wing airplane armed with rapid-fire or cannons and used to provide close air support for troops in combat.
[guhn-shot] /ˈgʌnˌʃɒt/ noun 1. the shooting of a : We heard three gunshots. 2. a bullet, projectile, or other fired from a . 3. the range of a : The bear was out of gunshot. adjective 4. made by a gunshot. /ˈɡʌnˌʃɒt/ noun 1. 2. the range of a gun 3. the shooting of a […]
[guhn-shahy] /ˈgʌnˌʃaɪ/ adjective 1. frightened by the sound of a gunshot: a gun-shy bird dog. 2. hesitant, wary, or distrustful, especially because of previous unpleasant experience. adjective 1. afraid of a gun or the sound it makes: a gun-shy dog is useless for shooting adj. 1884, originally of sporting dogs, from gun (n.) + shy […]
[guhn-sling-er] /ˈgʌnˌslɪŋ ər/ noun 1. Informal. . 2. Slang. a person who acts in an aggressive and decisive manner, especially in business or politics, as an investor who takes large risks in seeking large, quick gains. /ˈɡʌnˌslɪŋə/ noun 1. (slang) a gunfighter or gunman, esp in the Old West noun