pistol

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fire (one's) pistol in the air

1. In a duel, to shoot one's firearm into the air to avoid injuring the other party. A: "Did I just hear a gunshot? Is the duel over?" B: "Sir Edmund fired his pistol into the air, so Master William is unscathed."
2. To avoid harshly criticizing or otherwise hurting someone during an argument or debate. I usually fire my pistol in the air in these sorts of debates—I hate hurting people's feelings.
See also: air, fire, pistol

jump the gun

Fig. to start before the starting signal. (Originally used in sports contests that are started by firing a gun.) We all had to start the race again because Jane jumped the gun. When we took the test, Tom jumped the gun and started early.
See also: gun, jump

jump the gun

to do something before it should be done We do not want to jump the gun by making a statement about what caused the explosion before the investigation is completed.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of jump the gun (to begin to run a race before the gun that signals the start has been shot)
See also: gun, jump

jump the gun

to do something too soon, especially without thinking carefully about it
Usage notes: If someone running in a race jumps the gun, they start running before the gun has been fired to start the race.
He shouted at me before I had time to explain, but later he apologised for jumping the gun.
See also: gun, jump

jump the gun

Start doing something too soon, act too hastily. For example, The local weather bureau jumped the gun on predicting a storm; it didn't happen for another two days . This expression alludes to starting a race before the starter's gun has gone off, and supplants the earlier beat the pistol, which dates from about 1900. [Mid-1900s]
See also: gun, jump

jump the gun

tv. to start too soon; to start before the starting signal. The secretary jumped the gun and gave out the letters too soon.
See also: gun, jump

pistol

n. a person who is bright, quick, or energetic. (Implying hot as a pistol or quick as a pistol.) Ask that pistol to step over here for a minute, would you?

jump the gun

To start doing something too soon.
See also: gun, jump
References in classic literature ?
Beauchamp had meanwhile drawn the box of pistols from the carriage.
On perceiving the cavaliers, D'Artagnan had stopped and charged his pistol afresh; besides, his horse, he found, had a carbine on the bow of the saddle.
Rattray stopped the captain with a sudden flourish of one of his pistols, the silver mountings making lightning in the room; then he called upon the pair of them to show him what they had done with me; and to my horror, Santos invited him to search the room.
I know how to load a pistol now; do you know how to load a pistol, Keller?
D'Artagnan, drunk with despair, hurled his pistol to the ground.
I hastily pushed the girl down the companionway leading to the engine-room, and then I raised my pistol and fired my first shot at a boche.
At a signal from Monsieur Flaubert they were to walk in opposite directions, their pistols hanging by their sides.
Then he gave me from the rack a cutlass (of which there were a few besides the firearms), choosing it with great care, shaking his head and saying he had never in all his life seen poorer weapons; and next he set me down to the table with a powder-horn, a bag of bullets and all the pistols, which he bade me charge.
According to the arrangement, the parties had six pistols each, which, after the word "Fire
The man to whom this appeal was made, swore a dreadful oath, and had cocked the pistol, when Toby, striking it from his grasp, placed his hand upon the boy's mouth, and dragged him to the house.
But my old man had the third Tartar to deal with still; and seeing he did not fly, as he expected, nor come on to fight him, as he apprehended, but stood stock still, the old man stood still too, and fell to work with his tackle to charge his pistol again: but as soon as the Tartar saw the pistol away he scoured, and left my pilot, my champion I called him afterwards, a complete victory.
Then she heard footsteps running rapidly toward Smith-Oldwick and, as his pistol spoke, there was a scream and the sound of a falling body.
I thought it was Shea returning to speak with me on some matter of tomorrow's work; but when I raised my eyes to the doorway that connects the two rooms I saw framed there the figure of a bronzed giant, his otherwise naked body trapped with a jewel-encrusted harness from which there hung at one side an ornate short-sword and at the other a pistol of strange pattern.
More in whim than in hope of result, grinning to himself as he did so, Sheldon raised his automatic pistol and in two seconds sent eight shots scattering through the trees in the direction in which Tudor had disappeared.
It must have been at least a minute after I heard the click of the cocked pistol before he spoke.