adjective \ˈmi-səl, chiefly British -ˌsīl\

Definition of MISSILE

:  capable of being thrown or projected to strike a distant object
:  adapted for throwing or hurling missiles

Origin of MISSILE

Latin missilis, from mittere to throw, send
First Known Use: 1611



: an object that is thrown, shot, or launched as a weapon; especially : a rocket that explodes when it hits a distant target

Full Definition of MISSILE

:  an object (as a weapon) thrown or projected usually so as to strike something at a distance <stones, artillery shells, bullets, and rockets are missiles>: as
a :  guided missile
b :  ballistic missile

First Known Use of MISSILE

circa 1656

Other Military Terms

bivouac, logistics, petard, salient, sally, supernumerary, tactical

Rhymes with MISSILE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Components of an infrared-homing (“heat-seeking”) air-to-air missile.—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Rocket-propelled weapon designed to deliver an explosive warhead with great accuracy at high speed. Missiles vary from small tactical weapons effective out to only a few hundred feet to much larger strategic weapons with ranges of several thousand miles. They were not developed in any significant way until after World War II. Almost all contain some form of guidance and control mechanism and are therefore often called guided missiles. An unguided military missile, as well as any launch vehicle used to penetrate the upper atmosphere or place a satellite in space, is usually called a rocket. A propeller-driven underwater missile is called a torpedo, and a guided missile powered along a low, level flight path by an air-breathing jet engine is called a cruise missile. With the development of ICBMs, missiles became central to Cold War strategy. See also antiballistic missile, Minuteman missile, V-1 missile, V-2 missile.


Next Word in the Dictionary: missileer
Previous Word in the Dictionary: missense
All Words Near: missile

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up missile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).