a short musket of wide bore with expanded muzzle to scatter shot, bullets, or slugs at close range.
an insensitive, blundering person.

1645–55; < Dutch donderbus (equivalent to donder thunder + bus gun, box1) with donder replaced by blunder. See harquebus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
blunderbuss (ˈblʌndəˌbʌs)
1.  an obsolete short musket with large bore and flared muzzle, used to scatter shot at short range
2.  informal a clumsy unsubtle person
[C17: changed (through the influence of blunder) from Dutch donderbus; from donderthunder + obsolete bus gun]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1650s, from Du. donderbus, from donder "thunder" + bus "gun" (originally "box, tube"), altered by resemblance to blunder.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Many have gone for the blunderbuss approach, with big upfront investments in distribution to try to win market share quickly.
It is the kind of greeting that makes you consider reaching for your blunderbuss.
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