Air pistol – Definition & Meaning

Air pistols are a type of handgun that uses compressed air or gas to propel pellets or BBs. They are popular among shooting enthusiasts, hunters, and competitive shooters. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of air pistols, their origins, and their associations.


An air pistol is a type of handgun that uses compressed air or gas to propel pellets or BBs. They can be used for target shooting, pest control, and small game hunting. Air pistols come in various sizes, shapes, and designs, ranging from small and compact to large and powerful.


The first air pistol was invented in the late 18th century by a Frenchman named Girandoni. It was a powerful weapon that was used by the Austrian army for hunting and self-defense. Over the years, air pistols have evolved into a popular sporting and recreational activity.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an air pistol is “a pistol that fires pellets or BBs by means of compressed air or gas.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “a pistol that propels a pellet or BB by compressed air or gas.”


Air pistols are often associated with shooting sports, such as target shooting, field target shooting, and silhouette shooting. They are also used for pest control and small game hunting. In some countries, air pistols are used for self-defense.


Synonyms for air pistol include air gun, pellet gun, BB gun, and pneumatic pistol.


Antonyms for air pistol include real pistol, revolver, and handgun.

The same root words

The word “pistol” comes from the French word “pistole,” which means a small firearm. The word “air” refers to the compressed air or gas used to propel the pellets or BBs.

Example Sentences

  • He used an air pistol to shoot at the targets.
  • She bought an air pistol for pest control in her garden.
  • The air pistol competition was held at the local shooting range.
  • He prefers using an air pistol for small game hunting.
  • The air pistol is a popular choice for beginners in shooting sports.
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