guer·ril·la or gue·ril·la (gə-rĭlə)
A member of an irregular, usually indigenous military or paramilitary force operating in small bands in occupied territory to harass and undermine the enemy, as by surprise raids.
1. Of or relating to guerrillas or their tactics.
2. Using unconventional and usually inexpensive means to generate interest or raise concern among the public, as in commercial marketing or social activism.
[Spanish, raiding party, guerrilla force, diminutive of guerra, war, of Germanic origin; see wers- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.