- a light, gas-operated semiautomatic rifle.
- (formerly) a short rifle used in the cavalry.
- a light automatic or semiautomatic rifle of limited range
- Also called: carabin, carabine a light short-barrelled shoulder rifle formerly used by cavalry
short rifle, 1580s, from French carabine (Middle French carabin), used of light horsemen and also of the weapon they carried, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Medieval Latin Calabrinus “Calabrian” (i.e., “rifle made in Calabria”). A less-likely theory (Gamillscheg, etc.) connects it to Old French escarrabin “corpse-bearer during the plague,” literally (probably) “carrion beetle,” said to have been an epithet for archers from Flanders.