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[pis-tl] /ˈpɪs tl/

a short firearm intended to be held and fired with one hand.
verb (used with object), pistoled, pistoling or (especially British) pistolled, pistolling.
to shoot with a pistol.
a short-barrelled handgun
hold a pistol to a person’s head, to threaten a person in order to force him to do what one wants
verb -tols, -tolling, -tolled (US) -tols, -toling, -toled
(transitive) to shoot with a pistol

“small hand-held firearm,” 1570s, from Middle French pistole “short firearm” (1566), of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be from German Pistole, from Czech pis’tala “firearm,” literally “tube, pipe,” from pisteti “to whistle,” of imitative origin, related to Russian pischal “shepherd’s pipe.”

But earlier English form pistolet (1550) is said to be from Middle French pistolet “a small firearm,” also “a small dagger,” which may be the literal sense; though some connect this word with Italian pistolese, in reference to Pistoia, town in Tuscany noted for gunsmithing. Pistol-whip (v.) is first recorded 1942.


Related Terms

hot as a three-dollar pistol

[first sense probably a euphemism for pisser; lunch-counter sense because the eater feels as if shot in the stomach soon after eating hot pastrami]

[IBM] A tool that makes it all too easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. “Unix “rm *” makes such a nice pistol!”
[Jargon File]


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