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[guhn-kot-n] /ˈgʌnˌkɒt n/
a highly explosive cellulose nitrate, made by digesting clean cotton in a mixture of one part nitric acid and three parts sulfuric acid: used in making smokeless powder.
Origin of guncotton
1840-50; gun1 + cotton Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for guncotton
Historical Examples
  • These I had immersed in a concentrated mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids, converting them all into guncotton.

    Dynamite Stories Hudson Maxim
  • "Like litmus paper under the influence of an acid," explains guncotton.

    My Austrian Love Maxime Provost
  • Blocks of buildings were blown up with powder, guncotton, and dynamite, or torn down by men armed with axes and ropes.

  • "We have orders in case of no Germans are there," said guncotton.

    My Austrian Love Maxime Provost
  • Accordingly, Lieutenant Gurdon, 32nd Pioneers, was sent to join them with a box of guncotton.

    The Unveiling of Lhasa Edmund Candler
  • Holding in one hand the wad of guncotton the size of his head, he applied a match to it.

    Dynamite Stories Hudson Maxim
  • Look, for instance, at our friend Cotton, our good guncotton.

    My Austrian Love Maxime Provost
  • Every pound of guncotton did its work, and though the ruins burned, it was but feebly.

  • These are crumbling in places, and the Pioneers might destroy the bastion and breach the wall with a bag or two of guncotton.

    The Unveiling of Lhasa Edmund Candler
  • It was now filled with a charge of guncotton, and hurled into the hostile trenches by hand.

British Dictionary definitions for guncotton


cellulose nitrate containing a relatively large amount of nitrogen: used as an explosive
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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