I'm a huge nerd, by my own admission, and in a lot of anime they use the English loanword "shooter" in the original Japanese dub to signify something that shoots, as opposed to how we use it standard English to mean someone who shoots.

Is there a word in standard English that means something that shoots?

"Gun" is too specific since it may refer to a spell or another type of weapon. For example a barrage of fireballs = "fire shooter", or a magic staff that fires a laser = "Axel Shooter."

The best I can think of is detonator or maybe battery.

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    The -er agentive suffix can be applied to most verbs, with the unpredictable meaning of either 'human who (habitually or relevantly) Verbs', or 'artifact/machine which is used to Verb with'. Potholders are a tool, and so are screwdrivers and typewriters. But lienholders are people, and so are busdrivers and ghostwriters. It all depends on which sense got hold first. Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 19:51
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    The agent would actually be the one who shoots. The instrument is the thing that shoots. But kudos for being a language nerd. I would argue that "shooter" as the agent is fairly new. Consider the old "pea shooter" which isn't someone who shoots peas but the straw you shoot them through.
    – Anthony
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 20:41
  • A shootist seems to be the human agent and thus (as in 'pea shooter' in above comment) the 'shooter' should be confined to the mechanical device.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 21:34
  • Underworld slang in London for a gun, used by police and criminals alike is "shooter".
    – WS2
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 22:46

1 Answer 1



While in theory this might seem no better than "Gun", I find that it's generally used in a more versatile manner to indicate things that fire projectiles other than bullets. A Fire Cannon would naturally be a device which shoots fire. An Axel Cannon might lead some to think it's a typo for something that shoots axles, but is still clearly a weapon such that things come out of it to strike a target at range. It's used for non-physical projectiles as well, with Laser Cannons being popular in fiction and Sound Cannons (or Sonic Cannons) being real and legitimate weapons that do pretty much what one would expect from the name. The only downside I can think of is that it's so popular that some combinations are already associated strongly with a more specific concept, so a cannon that shoots hands might not be clear if you call it a Hand Cannon unless you're intentionally making a pun. I would consider this the best and most general option, that seems most likely to replace shooter everywhere you need it. Another option though...


While I wouldn't call it universal, "Launcher" is a word used alongside a projectile to indicate "something that shoots that projectile". Notable examples include Rocket Launcher, a device which shoots rockets, and Grenade Launcher, a device which shoots grenades. I don't know that it truly fits your needs since I would find it somewhat awkward to simply replace "shooter" in your examples, but it is nicely unambiguous: a fire launcher is very unlikely to be anything other than a device that fire comes out of.


You identified this, and it could be useful on occasion. In particular, a Battery should be shooting a lot of things at once. Your spell that shoots a lot of fireballs could be referred to as a "Flame Battery". It would be somewhat awkward tough, batteries are much more likely to be a fixed placement rather than something you can pull out as needed, and it doesn't feel right in the name for a spell. As I said, it could be usable on rare occasions.


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