Definition of Parabellum in English:



  • A type of semi-automatic pistol or machine gun.

    • ‘The Germans, being as cunning and devious as they are known to be, soon developed the 9mm Parabellum for their Luger military pistol.’
    • ‘The 9mm Parabellum was the most common round in the world, and he was sure that if he looked hard enough, he could find replacement bullets.’
    • ‘In terms of total ammunition sales, the 9mm Parabellum is the biggest seller by a wide margin.’
    • ‘When the Wehrmacht began looking for a replacement for its difficult-to-manufacture P.08 Parabellum in the early 1930's, Walther was one of the companies that responded.’
    • ‘This automatic pistol was known to its users as the P 08 or, from the name of its cartridge, the Parabellum: the term Luger is Anglo-American.’


Early 20th century: the name of a German make of gun, from Latin para bellum (from para! ‘prepare!’ (imperative of parare) + bellum ‘war’) in the phrase si vis pacem, para bellum ‘if you want peace, prepare for war’.