Arms are weapons. If a rebel group starts acquiring arms, it becomes a clear threat to its opponents.

If you hear references on the news to "the arms race" or "arms exports," you know the subject is guns, bombs, bullets, and other weapons and ammunition. Any country with an army has some quantity of arms that can be used for self defense or military actions. In 1300, it was armes, "weapons of a warrior," from the Latin arma, "weapons," and also "tools of war."

Primary Meanings of arms

weapons considered collectively
the official symbols of a family, state, etc.
Full Definitions of arms

n weapons considered collectively

implements of war, munition, weaponry, weapons system
Guided Bomb Unit-28
a 5,000 pound laser-guided bomb that can be programmed to penetrate to a given depth before exploding; used to penetrate hardened underground facilities
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ammo, ammunition
projectiles to be fired from a gun
weaponry used by military or naval force
an explosive device fused to explode under specific conditions
defence system, defense system
the weaponry available for the defense of a region
guns collectively
major items of military weaponry (as tanks or missile)
naval weaponry
weaponry for warships
armory, armoury, arsenal
all the weapons and equipment that a country has
artillery, gun, heavy weapon, ordnance
large but transportable armament
A-bomb, atom bomb, atomic bomb, fission bomb, plutonium bomb
a nuclear weapon in which enormous energy is released by nuclear fission (splitting the nuclei of a heavy element like uranium 235 or plutonium 239)
Fugo, balloon bomb
a bomb carried by a balloon
belt, belt ammunition, belted ammunition
ammunition (usually of small caliber) loaded in flexible linked strips for use in a machine gun
bomblet, cluster bomblet
one of the smaller bombs that are released from a cluster bomb
an explosive bomb or artillery shell
briefcase bomb
a bomb consisting of an explosive and timer hidden inside a briefcase
all of the armament that is fired from one side of a warship
car bomb
a bomb placed in a car and wired to explode when the ignition is started or by remote control or by a timing device
ammunition consisting of a cylindrical casing containing an explosive charge and a bullet; fired from a rifle or handgun
canister, canister shot, case shot
a metallic cylinder packed with shot and used as ammunition in a firearm
chemical bomb, gas bomb
a bomb laden with chemical agents that are released when the bomb explodes
cluster bomb
bomb consisting of a canister that is dropped from a plane and that opens to release a cluster of bomblets (usually fragmentation bombs) over a wide area
cruise missile
an unmanned aircraft that is a self-contained bomb
depth bomb, depth charge
a bomb that explodes at a preset depth under water; antisubmarine device
dumb bomb, gravity bomb
a bomb that falls because of gravity and is not guided to a target
fire control system
naval weaponry consisting of a system for controlling the delivery of fire on a military target
anti-personnel bomb, antipersonnel bomb, daisy cutter, fragmentation bomb
a bomb with only 10 to 20 per cent explosive and the remainder consisting of casings designed to break into many small high-velocity fragments; most effective against troops and vehicles
gas shell
(military) bomb consisting of an explosive projectile filled with a toxic gas that is released when the bomb explodes
GP bomb, general-purpose bomb
a large bomb (500 to 2,000 pounds that is 50% explosive) whose explosion creates a blast and whose metal casing creates some fragmentation effect
a small explosive bomb thrown by hand or fired from a missile
H-bomb, fusion bomb, hydrogen bomb, thermonuclear bomb
a nuclear weapon that releases atomic energy by union of light (hydrogen) nuclei at high temperatures to form helium
firebomb, incendiary, incendiary bomb
a bomb that is designed to start fires; is most effective against flammable targets (such as fuel)
launcher, rocket launcher
armament in the form of a device capable of launching a rocket
letter bomb, package bomb, parcel bomb
a thin explosive device inside an envelope or package and detonated when opened
megaton bomb
a nuclear weapon with an explosive power equivalent to one million tons of TNT
E-bomb, microwave bomb
a bomb that explodes in midair and releases a massive burst of electromagnetic energy sufficient to disable computers and telecommunications without killing people or damaging buildings
missile defence system, missile defense system
naval weaponry providing a defense system
munition, ordnance, ordnance store
military supplies
naval gun
naval weaponry consisting of a large gun carried on a warship
naval missile
naval weaponry consisting of a missile carried on a warship
penetration bomb
a bomb with about 30% explosive and a casing designed to penetrate hardened targets before the explosive detonates
pipe bomb
a small homemade bomb usually contained in a metal pipe
plastic bomb
a bomb made of plastic explosive
powder and shot
ammunition consisting of gunpowder and bullets for muskets
remote-control bomb
a bomb that can be detonated by remote control
one shot, round, unit of ammunition
a charge of ammunition for a single shot
ammunition consisting of a cylindrical metal casing containing an explosive charge and a projectile; fired from a large gun
smart bomb
a bomb that can be guided (by a laser beam or radio) to its target
smoke bomb, smoke grenade
a bomb that gives off thick smoke when it explodes; used to make a smoke screen or to mark a position
stench bomb, stink bomb
a small bomb designed to give off a foul odor when it explodes
aerosol bomb, fuel-air bomb, thermobaric bomb, vacuum bomb, volume-detonation bomb
a bomb that uses a fuel-air explosive
infernal machine, time bomb
a bomb that has a detonating mechanism that can be set to go off at a particular time
armament consisting of a long cylindrical self-propelled underwater projectile that detonates on contact with a target
tracer, tracer bullet
ammunition whose flight can be observed by a trail of smoke
Type of:
instrumentality, instrumentation
an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end

n the official symbols of a family, state, etc.

blazon, blazonry, coat of arms
a coat of arms that occupies one quarter of an escutcheon; combining four coats of arms on one shield usually represented intermarriages
Type of:
emblem indicating the right of a person to bear arms

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