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noun tor·pe·do \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
TORPEDOES Defined for Kids


noun tor·pe·do \tr-ˈpē-dō\
plural tor·pe·does

Definition of TORPEDO for Kids

:  a long narrow self-propelled underwater weapon used for blowing up ships

Word History of TORPEDO

In 1776, David Bushnell, a supporter of the American cause in the Revolutionary War, built a wooden submarine with a detachable container of gunpowder that could be hooked to an enemy ship and set to explode after the submarine steered clear. Bushnell is believed to have dubbed the container with the Latin word torpedo, electric ray, that is, a fish that delivers an electric shock. Though Bushnell's submarine and explosive device never damaged a British vessel, the name torpedo was later applied to modern weapons used to attack ships.



Definition of TORPEDO for Kids

:  to hit with or destroy by a torpedo


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