- noun a small gun designed to be held in one hand
- noun an attractive, active or powerful person. Used of and by both sexes as a term of admiration, the word need not have sexual connotations, but in modern usage often does.
(written as Pistol)Falstaff's 'ancient' (i.e. ensign) in Shakespeare's Henry IV,Part II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Abraggart and a cowardly ruffian, Pistol finally gets his comeuppance inHenry V, when Captain Fluellen forces him to eat a raw leek formocking the Welsh. Following this humiliation, Pistol announces his intentionto return home to a life of crime: "To England will I steal and thereI'll steal." His bombastic and often nonsensical speeches parody theranting style of many Elizabethan tragedies.