noun \tr-ˈpē-(ˌ)dō\

: a bomb that is shaped like a tube and that is fired underwater

plural tor·pe·does

Full Definition of TORPEDO

:  a weapon for destroying ships by rupturing their hulls below the waterline: as
a :  a submarine mine
b :  a thin cylindrical self-propelled underwater projectile
:  a small firework that explodes when thrown against a hard object
:  a professional gunman or assassin
:  submarine 2

Examples of TORPEDO

  1. The battleship was sunk by a torpedo fired by a submarine.
  2. <that deli's torpedoes are big enough to serve two people>

Origin of TORPEDO

Latin, literally, stiffness, numbness, from torpēre to be sluggish or numb — more at torpid
First Known Use: circa 1520

Related to TORPEDO


transitive verb

: to hit or sink (a ship) with a torpedo

: to destroy or stop (something) completely

tor·pe·doedtor·pe·do·ing \-ˈpē-də-wiŋ\

Full Definition of TORPEDO

:  to hit or sink (a ship) with a naval torpedo :  strike or destroy by torpedo
:  to destroy or nullify altogether :  wreck <torpedo a plan>

Examples of TORPEDO

  1. The submarine torpedoed the battleship.
  2. Her injury torpedoed her goal of competing in the Olympics.

First Known Use of TORPEDO

circa 1879


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Cigar-shaped, self-propelled underwater missile, launched from a submarine, surface vessel, or airplane and designed to explode on contact with the hulls of surface vessels and submarines. It contains devices to control depth and direction as well as a detonator for the explosive-filled warhead. Originally the word referred to any explosive charge, including the weapon now known as a submarine mine. The first modern torpedo (1866) carried an 18-lb (8-kg) charge of dynamite in its nose and was powered by a compressed-air engine driving a single propeller; its range was 200–700 yards (180–640 m). Torpedoes were used successfully by submarines in both world wars, when many merchant ships were sunk, mostly by German U-boats. Torpedoes are now usually propelled by battery-powered electric motors.


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