AskDefine | Define gunsel

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /'gʌnsəl/

Etymology 1

From gunslinger by shortening.


  1. A gun-carrying hoodlum or other criminal

Etymology 2


  1. Young man kept for sexual purposes (Etymology: Yiddish gendzel or ganzel).
  2. Street and prison slang for a passive-partner in anal-intercourse
Usage notes
Note: The two meanings are believed to have originated concurrently but independently. gunsel: Or: gonsil / gonzel / gonsel : A 19 th century term of German and Yiddish (little goose) derivation for a young, inexperienced gay male. See sodomite for synonyms.
The former usage - a gun-toting hoodlum - derives from Dashiel Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon". Hammett's publisher at the time refused to allow any rude or profane terminology in his publication. Hammett slipped in "gunsel" - a street term for a young, gay man - as a joke. Since it is used throughout the book to refer to the character of Wilmer - a gun-toting thug - most people erroneously assumed that is what it meant and it stuck.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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