ballistic missile

noun
plural ballistic missiles

Definition of ballistic missile

: 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

Donald Trump declared North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat to the world, satellite images revealed the country has spent the past several months upgrading its ability to make solid-fuel ballistic missiles. Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, "Satellite Images Hint North Korea Won’t Disarm Anytime Soon," 5 July 2018 The main weapon is boosted aloft atop a ballistic missile to high altitudes. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China: Our Hypersonic Missiles Can Sink U.S. Aircraft Carriers," 23 Jan. 2019 The radar would help identify long-range ballistic missile threats mid-way through flight. Washington Post, "US military aims for $1B missile defense radar in Hawaii," 28 June 2018 The radar would help identify long-range ballistic missile threats mid-way through flight. Audrey Mcavoy, The Christian Science Monitor, "Despite deal with North Korea, US prepares missile defense system," 27 June 2018 The radar would help identify long-range ballistic missile threats mid-way through flight. Audrey Mcavoy, The Seattle Times, "US military aims for $1B missile defense radar in Hawaii," 26 June 2018 But negotiations, however tedious and imperfect, are surely better than the tensions of late 2017 — when North Korea was proceeding headlong in a race to perfect its intercontinental ballistic missile technology and threatening to bomb Guam. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Uranium enrichment will be a key point in talks with North Korea. Here’s what it is.," 11 June 2018 The calls were placed to the Honolulu Police Department on January 13 -- the morning a phone text alert was mistakenly sent out, warning of an incoming ballistic missile threat to Hawaii. Jason Kravarik, CNN, "911 calls capture confusion when Hawaii false missile alert went out," 23 Mar. 2018 While startling for some, the mistake Tuesday morning did not appear to have the same impact as a more severe one did in Hawaii last month when an emergency alert warning of a ballistic missile threat was mistakenly sent to residents. Jennifer Calfas, Time, "A Tsunami Warning Blared on Phones Across the Country This Morning. It Was a Mistake," 6 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ballistic missile.' 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 missile

1950, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

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The first known use of ballistic missile was in 1950

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More Definitions for ballistic missile

ballistic missile

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ballistic missile

: a weapon that is shot through the sky over a great distance and then falls to the ground and explodes

More from Merriam-Webster on ballistic missile

Britannica English: Translation of ballistic missile for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ballistic missile

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