Definition of Lewis gun in US English:

Lewis gun


  • A light, air-cooled machine gun with a magazine operated by gas from its own firing, used mainly in World War I.

    • ‘Additionally her armament included a 3 inch disappearing gun, two Lewis guns and four torpedo tubes.’
    • ‘As well as the Vickers machine gun, the British used the Hotchkiss and the Lewis gun.’
    • ‘Then I was told a machine-gun platoon in the Duke of Cornwall's 7th Battalion needed a man trained on a Lewis gun.’
    • ‘In purely dismounted action, they were employed in the same manner as Lewis guns with infantry.’
    • ‘A group selected from the three battalions of the Dublin Brigade captured 25 rifles, two Lewis guns and a large quantity of ammunition, without suffering or causing any casualties.’
    • ‘As the battle reached its climax the submariners continued to fight off their attackers with a handful of rifles and a Lewis gun.’
    • ‘American squadrons in France had to use British or French armament and equipment, even though one of the most effective Allied weapons was the Lewis gun, an American design manufactured in Europe.’
    • ‘Initially the Allies had to counter this by mounting twin Lewis guns over the wing (and hence above the propeller arc), but later they were able to fire a single Vickers machine gun through the prop.’
    • ‘Performance of the new Lewis gun quickly overshadowed that of the Benet-Mercie machine rifle, the only other light automatic in widespread Allied use.’
    • ‘Also in that location was a Lewis gun on a Scarff ring.’
    • ‘With its stovepipe-like shape, the Lewis gun's prominent barrel shroud is particularly noteworthy.’
    • ‘Bryson brought the Lewis gun up to the verandah of the flat above Mary's Shop in Springhill Avenue.’
    • ‘It was replaced by the Lewis gun, though it was used in other campaigns involving British forces.’


Early 20th century: named after its inventor, Isaac N. Lewis (1858–1931), a colonel in the US army.