ballistic missile


plural ballistic missiles
: a usually rocket-powered missile that is launched in a high arc under guidance for its ascent but that is unpowered and unguided once it begins its descent compare cruise missile, guided missile

Examples of ballistic missile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Russia has been propping up the Kim regime with food aid, along with fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, armored vehicles, and equipment for ballistic missile production. Oriana Skylar Mastro, Foreign Affairs, 19 Feb. 2024 Iran has over 3,000 ballistic missiles in its stockpiles, the largest arsenal in the Middle East. Paul Iddon, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 While the majority of the projectiles were blocked, two ballistic missiles were able to get through U.S. air defenses, the officials said. Anne Flaherty, ABC News, 25 Jan. 2024 The use of more powerful ballistic missiles, far rarer than rockets or one-way attack drones, comes at a time of growing tension in the region as the Israel-Hamas war passes 100 days. Wire Service, The Mercury News, 21 Jan. 2024 An unblinking eye could watch everything from the pens in which China’s nuclear ballistic missile submarines are kept to Iranian Revolutionary Guard facilities that can threaten U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. David Zikusoka, Foreign Affairs, 2 Feb. 2024 Another customer operates a factory that produces command posts for Russia’s nuclear-capable Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system. Pei-Lin Wu, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 Five of them are linked to the Rocket Force, an elite branch built up by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to oversee the development of the nation’s nuclear and ballistic missiles. Nectar Gan, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 Iran has also supplied the Houthis with ballistic missiles, and that group is the first Iranian proxy to fire medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship ballistic missiles, Taleblu said. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ballistic missile.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1950, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ballistic missile was in 1950

Dictionary Entries Near ballistic missile

Cite this Entry

“Ballistic missile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

ballistic missile

: a missile that moves under its own power, is guided as it rises in a steeply curving path, and falls freely on the way back to earth

More from Merriam-Webster on ballistic missile

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