9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[guh-ril-uh] /gəˈrɪl ə/
a member of a band of irregular soldiers that uses guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication and supply lines, etc.
pertaining to such fighters or their technique of warfare:
guerrilla strongholds; guerrilla tactics.
Origin of guerrilla
1800-10; < Spanish, diminutive of guerra war (< Germanic; cf. war1); orig. in reference to the Spanish resistance against Napoleon; the name for the struggle erroneously taken as a personal noun
Related forms
guerrillaism, noun
antiguerrilla, noun, adjective
counterguerrilla, adjective
Can be confused
gorilla, guerrilla. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for guerrilla
  • The withdrawal marks the start of a guerrilla war, it said warily.
  • The drones can circle above an guerrilla encampment for hours without risking a pilot.
  • But, alas, a leftist former guerrilla is president of the country.
  • These involve encouraging guerrilla desertions and targeting the leadership.
  • It might be that guerrilla commanders merely want to clear other operators off the spectrum so that they can use it themselves.
  • Plus there are always a few things without any labels made by guerrilla outfits.
  • He was more concerned about confronting guerrilla warfare.
  • The unions and the left were repressed, but not so severely as to engender a guerrilla movement.
  • But the group prompted a public outcry by touring the south-east in guerrilla outfits, declaring victory.
  • Almost entirely bereft of popular support, the guerrilla campaign flopped.
British Dictionary definitions for guerrilla


  1. a member of an irregular usually politically motivated armed force that combats stronger regular forces, such as the army or police
  2. (as modifier): guerrilla warfare
a form of vegetative spread in which the advance is from several individual rhizomes or stolons growing rapidly away from the centre, as in some clovers Compare phalanx
Derived Forms
guerrillaism, guerillaism, noun
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish, diminutive of guerrawar
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for guerrilla

"fighter in an irregular, independent armed force," 1809, from Spanish guerrilla "body of skirmishers, skirmishing warfare," literally "little war," diminutive of guerra "war," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German werra "strife, conflict, war;" see war). Figurative use by 1861. As an adjective from 1811. Acquired by English during the Peninsular War (1808-1814); purists failed in their attempt to keep this word restricted to "irregular warfare" and prevent it taking on the sense properly belonging to guerrillero "guerrilla fighter."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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