bal·​lis·​tic | \ bə-ˈli-stik How to pronounce ballistic (audio) \

Definition of ballistic

1 : extremely and usually suddenly excited, upset, or angry : wild He went ballistic when he saw the dent in his car. and the crowd goes ballistic
2 : of or relating to the science of the motion of projectiles in flight
3 exercise : being or characterized by repeated bouncing ballistic stretching
4 physics, of an object in motion : behaving like a projectile But the Bell Labs switch uses such a low current that the few ballistic electrons are a distance of a micrometer or more apart …— Robert Pool
5 of a material : capable of resisting or stopping bullets or other projectiles ballistic glass ballistic nylon … engineered specifically to be worn under ballistic vests and shirts.— K. M. Reese

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Other Words from ballistic

ballistically \ bə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ballistic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of ballistic in a Sentence

she went ballistic when she discovered her sister using her nail polish
Recent Examples on the Web The Japanese military said the 25 missions involved Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) protecting US Navy ships on four occasions while those ships were gathering information on ballistic missiles or other warning or surveillance activities. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Japan increases protection for US military amid 'severe security environment'," 24 Feb. 2021 The Saudis demand the rebels surrender their heavy weapons, particularly ballistic missiles. Samy Magdy, The Christian Science Monitor, "Is Biden's curb on Saudi aid enough to bring peace to Yemen?," 11 Feb. 2021 In 2018, President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions, saying the deal was not stringent enough and had allowed Iran to develop ballistic missiles and operate as an aggressive power in the Middle East. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "White House says Biden did not change Iran policy with a nod of his head," 8 Feb. 2021 Kim seeks to develop solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles to strengthen intelligence-gathering capabilities with satellites, according to KCNA. Jon Herskovitz,, "North Korea Greets Biden With Plans to Boost Nuclear Arsenal," 8 Jan. 2021 But the western coast of Saudi Arabia also provides additional distance from Iran, which has invested heavily in ballistic missiles as sanctions have locked it out of global arms sales. Jon Gambrell, Star Tribune, "US exploring new bases in Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions," 26 Jan. 2021 Troops, aviation assets and weaponry have all been moved through the ports and bases to demonstrate how the sites can be used to deploy troops and military assets with potentially less exposure to Iranian ballistic missiles. Gordon Lubold, WSJ, "U.S. Forces Expand Reach in Saudi Arabia," 25 Jan. 2021 Eight hotel-class submarines, built to house and launch a complement of ballistic missiles, joined the Soviet fleet between 1959 and 1962. Cory Graff, Popular Mechanics, "The Terrifying History of Russia’s Nuclear Submarine Graveyard," 17 Jan. 2021 The state gave Harris an around-the-clock security detail and a ballistic vest. USA Today, "How the South and Southwest became the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic," 10 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ballistic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ballistic

1764, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for ballistic

borrowed from New Latin ballisticus "relating to the motion of projectiles in flight," from Latin ballista ballista + New Latin -icus -ic entry 1

Note: The Latin word was apparently introduced by the French priest and polymath Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) in Ballistica et acontismologia, a section (with separate title page) of his Cogitata physico-mathematica (Paris, 1644).

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Time Traveler for ballistic

Time Traveler

The first known use of ballistic was in 1764

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Statistics for ballistic

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ballistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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