Minuteman

[min-it-man]
noun, plural Minutemen.
1.
(sometimes lowercase) a member of a group of American militiamen just before and during the Revolutionary War who held themselves in readiness for instant military service.
2.
a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile with three stages, powered by solid-propellant rocket engines.
3.
a member of a small, secret, ultraconservative organization formed into armed groups for the declared purpose of conducting guerrilla warfare against a communist invasion of the U.S.

Origin:
1765–75, Americanism; minute1 + man1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Minuteman (ˈmɪnɪtˌmæn)
 
n , pl -men
1.  (sometimes not capital) (in the War of American Independence) a colonial militiaman who promised to be ready to fight at one minute's notice
2.  a US three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

minuteman
U.S. history, class of militia available for immediate service (i.e. "ready in a matter of minutes"), 1774. As the name of a type of ICBM, from 1961, so called because they could be launched with very little preparation.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Minutemen definition


Armed American civilians who were active in the Revolutionary War and in the period just preceding the war. They were named Minutemen because they were ready to fight alongside regular soldiers at a moment's notice. The Minutemen of Massachusetts were especially well known. (See Battle of Lexington and Concord.)

Note: During the cold war, the name “Minuteman” was given to a United States missile held ready for launching in the event of a nuclear attack.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for Minutemen
The protesters were initially accused of attacking the minutemen.
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