train a gun, point a gun

Jagorr

Senior Member
Russian, Belarusian
Training a gun on someone means pointing a gun at someone.

But he did back off, but he was very angry, and he got me to scrub the floor on my hands and knees, grabbed a gun, trained it on me.

I have several questions related to this:

1) What else can you train (on someone) with the same meaning?
2) Can you point a gun on someone and train it at someone?
I've found an example: I've got a gun trained at your back. How does it sound?
3) I assume, training a gun originaties from French traîner. => I do not know if this French verb can be used in such context in French, but seeing that it means to pull (out), this seems to be the reason for the use of the preposition: to pull out a gun on someone, to train a gun on someone. Feel free to prove me wrong.:)
4) Is there a nuance in meaning in training a gun as opposed to pointing a gun?
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You could train a telescope, a laser etc. I'd probably call "at your back" a mistake in that context. "Training" suggests "aiming," not just pointing. You can point a gun out a window without training it on anything specific.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I don't think I'd use "train" for a handgun. It suggests to me a larger piece of artillery or (see #2) other type of machinery, something that could be moved by a gear-train or even a railway train.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, my impression is that training includes the idea of movement. As the target moves, the gun moves. It's not pointing at you in general, it's aimed at a very specific spot and will move when that spot moves.
     

    Jagorr

    Senior Member
    Russian, Belarusian
    I don't think I'd use "train" for a handgun. It suggests to me a larger piece of artillery or (see #2) other type of machinery, something that could be moved by a gear-train or even a railway train.
    I've mostly come across examples with a handgun being trained on someone. And I have not seen an example with a larger piece of artillery being trained yet.
    You can point a gun out a window without training it on anything specific.
    Interesting! I am not sure about the etymology of train in this meaning (is anyone? is it derived from French traîner / pull out ?), but I assumed that pointing means a specific target, a point. :confused:
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    [...]

    Interesting! I am not sure about the etymology of train in this meaning (is anyone? is it derived from French traîner / pull out ?), but I assumed that pointing means a specific target, a point. :confused:
    From a quick look around it appears that Keith is probably right about the derivation (see #3 above). "Pointing" indicates direction, but it's less specific about the idea of narrowing down your aim and fixing it in one spot.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Pointing is more general. I can point my gun toward a crowd but I can't train my gun on a crowd. I can train my gun on the leader of the crowd.
     
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