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

Flying at high speed within the atmosphere, these missiles wouldn't have the guidance problems of ballistic anti-ship missiles. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "What You Need to Know About the South China Sea, the World's Next Hot Spot," 27 Feb. 2019 Russia also claims the U.S. has launched banned missiles as targets in anti-ballistic-missile tests. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why the U.S. Is Quitting a Key Nuclear Weapons Treaty," 5 Dec. 2018 Washington has sought to constrain Iran’s ballistic-missile programs and counter its assertive posture in the region. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, "Iran Vows to Continue Military Expansion Despite U.S. Threats," 11 Feb. 2019 This sent the Soyuz spacecraft on a ballistic return trajectory to Earth that saved the lives of NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Two months after mishap, Russian Soyuz rockets back into space with crew," 3 Dec. 2018 He was convicted in 1994 for the murder of Andy Ascher, 22, during a robbery in Rockford, but last year Pursley, 52, won a new trial because ballistic testing proved the gun prosecutors used as evidence was not the homicide weapon. Ivan Moreno, The Seattle Times, "Illinois police accused of planting gun in 1994 murder case," 13 Nov. 2018 Just recently, the foundation bought more than 1,000 ballistic helmets for uniformed officers. Cortlynn Stark, kansascity, "With 100 teddy bears and toothbrushes, KCPD social workers hope to comfort kids," 25 June 2018 Luggage doesn't have to be a sea of black ballistic nylon. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: How Indré Rockefeller, Co-Founder of Paravel, Made Luggage Romantic Again," 19 Sep. 2018 Last week, Onofri said investigators were collecting ballistic evidence that may help determine which bullets struck the bystanders. Robert Moran,, "'Shots fired! Shots fired! … Everybody out!' Terror and chaos at Trenton arts festival," 27 June 2018

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

Statistics for ballistic

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ballistic

The first known use of ballistic was in 1764

See more words from the same year

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 affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!