One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Designating a pistol or other firearm whose barrel is unscrewed and removed in order to load the projectile into the exposed breech. Now chiefly historical.
2Designating a microscope with a threaded barrel which can be turned in order to adjust the focus. Now historical.
1A screw barrel gun.
2Any of various types of threaded or grooved cylinder forming part of a mechanical device.
Late 17th century. From screw + barrel.
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