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blunderbuss

[bluhn-der-buhs] /ˈblʌn dərˌbʌs/
noun
1.
a short musket of wide bore with expanded muzzle to scatter shot, bullets, or slugs at close range.
2.
an insensitive, blundering person.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; < Dutch donderbus (equivalent to donder thunder + bus gun, box1) with donder replaced by blunder. See harquebus
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for blunder buss

blunderbuss

/ˈblʌndəˌbʌs/
noun
1.
an obsolete short musket with large bore and flared muzzle, used to scatter shot at short range
2.
(informal) a clumsy unsubtle person
Word Origin
C17: changed (through the influence of blunder) from Dutch donderbus; from donderthunder + obsolete bus gun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for blunder buss

blunderbuss

n.

1650s, from Dutch donderbus, from donder "thunder" (Middle Dutch doner, donder, from Proto-Germanic *thunaraz; see thunder (n.)) + bus "gun" (originally "box, tube"); altered by resemblance to blunder.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for blunder buss

blunderbuss

short, muzzle-loading shoulder weapon, usually a flintlock, with a wide smooth bore flared at the muzzle to a maximum width of about 4 inches (10 centimetres). The flaring was intended to scatter the shot at very close range, an effect that later scientific experiments showed did not occur. The blunderbuss, forerunner of the shotgun, was common in the 18th century, though in use somewhat earlier and later.

Learn more about blunderbuss with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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