One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A type of semiautomatic pistol or machine gun.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The Germans, being as cunning and devious as they are known to be, soon developed the 9mm Parabellum for their Luger military pistol.’
- ‘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.’
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’.
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