blunderbus

\ \ [17] Blunderbus was originally Dutch donderbus (literally ‘thundergun’), and its transformation is due to folk etymology: the unfamiliar donder was replaced by the English word blunder, perhaps with some reference to the fact that, with its wide muzzle, it is capable only of fairly random firing. The second part of the word (which also occurs in arquebus) is ultimately related to box, Dutch bus or buis being not just a ‘box’ but also a ‘tube’, and hence a ‘gun’. There is no connection with the 20thcentury thunderbox, a colloquial term for a ‘portable loo’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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