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

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 On the same day the outbreak was announced, North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles. Dr. Kee B. Park, CNN, 19 May 2022 And the country continues to pose a more established threat: Just hours after reporting its first coronavirus cases, North Korea launched three ballistic missiles toward the sea, its sixteenth weapons demonstration this year. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 13 May 2022 Although experts understood why Elkins might think of Nirvana as an oldie, the commenters went ballistic. NBC News, 19 Apr. 2022 The talk about metaverse really went ballistic after Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote at the Facebook Connect event touted the metaverse as the social networking future. Kevin Krewell, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2022 The Garden crowd—which had stood expectantly, just like those autograph seekers on Fifth, every time Curry so much as touched the ball—went ballistic. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 15 Dec. 2021 Thrilled to hear this latest development, Melissa tweeted out a link from The Hollywood Reporter announcing the big news and fans went ballistic in the best way. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, 3 Aug. 2021 On Moscow’s Red Square, Putin, 69, is due to preside over a cavalcade of troops and tanks, rockets and long-range ballistic missiles. Laura Kingstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2022 At an unprecedented pace, North Korea has conducted more than a dozen weapons tests this year, including test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of ballistic was in 1764

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ballistic cap

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ballistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ballistic

Nglish: Translation of ballistic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ballistic for Arabic Speakers


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