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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ballistic

ballistically \ bə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ballistically (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 crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops in its violent confrontation with Washington over the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general. NBC News, "Iran invites Boeing to investigate plane crash that killed 176," 9 Jan. 2020 Most are built to defend against ballistic rockets, and almost none are equipped to detect and stop a large number of low-flying, high-speed drones and cruise missiles. New York Times, "Its Missiles Did Little Damage, but Iran Has More Potent Weapons," 8 Jan. 2020 The unidentified shooter’s gun, the mother’s gun, and Allen’s gun have all been sent for ballistic testing. Ivana Hrynkiw |, al, "‘We have to do better,’ judge says after hearing about child killed in Birmingham gun battle," 3 Jan. 2020 Inside the ballistic nylon sheath is a pouch with a steel match, and the knife is equipped with a wrist loop of braided paracord that unravels to over 20 feet. Field & Stream, "The Best Hunting and Fishing Gear of the Decade," 27 Dec. 2019 On Tuesday night, officers responded to the same address for reports of gunshots and recovered ballistic evidence, said Officer Kim Tavares, a Boston police spokeswoman., "A day after police responded to gunshots reported near a playground in Roxbury, officers on patrol near the same park arrested a man on gun charges and recovered a loaded pistol Wednesday evening, police said.," 29 Nov. 2019 Someone opened fire on a car shortly before the shooting about a half a mile away, and ballistic evidence found at both scenes was similar, Coulter said. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, "Toddler killed, baby wounded in Philadelphia: "No child should be murdered in their living room"," 21 Oct. 2019 Justice believes that the ballistic evidence recovered in an archaeological dig at the scene implicates the soldiers in the shootings. John Maccormack,, "Story of Porvenir massacre finally being told," 27 Sep. 2019 Police also say ballistic evidence supports the witness’ account. Washington Post, "The Latest: Police: Victim was in Iowa to work with suspect," 18 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of ballistic

1764, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for ballistic

Latin ballista

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ballistic

Time Traveler for ballistic

Time Traveler

The first known use of ballistic was in 1764

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ballistic

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ballistic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ballistic

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


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!