One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A criminal carrying a gun.
- ‘Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet were the ideal diabolical team and Elisha Cook Jr. was perfect as the expendable gunsel.’
- ‘The character of noir is subtly uncompromising, at the right time mortally confronting not the two-bit gunsel but Mr. Big, the respectable-appearing ring leader behind it all.’
- ‘In The Maltese Falcon, the dandified villain is a corpulent homosexual with a lustful penchant for ancient art and gunsels.’
- ‘The same can hardly be said of the gunsel in Magnificent Seven… and as for the assassin in ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’, well that's a whole other scary world…’
- ‘Wendy started to deflect the inquiry but Erin, who had heretofore kept his peace playing the gunsel, stepped in front of her to introduce himself.’
Early 20th century (denoting a tramp's young companion): from Yiddish gendzel ‘little goose’, influenced in sense by gun.
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