Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person; a fellow: That son of a gun knows how to sell cars and sell them well.
  • n. A rascal; a scamp: That son of gun is always playing practical jokes.
  • interj. Used to express annoyance, disappointment, or surprise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. son of a bitch

Etymologies

The U.S. Navy publication Nomenclature of Ships (John Snelling, 1981) describes the origin of this phrase as follows: (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The son of a gun lifts it twelve times, and a huge grin rushes across his beet-red face.

    Beach Road

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Never daughter of a gun?

    June 22, 2008

  • Derived from the days when women were allowed to live in naval ships. The ‘son-of-a-gun’ was one born in a ship, often in the greater space near the midship gun, behind a canvas screen. If paternity was uncertain, the child was entered in the ship’s log as a “Son-of-a-gun.�?

    June 22, 2008