ballistic missile


Definition of ballistic missile 

: a missile guided in the ascent of a high-arch trajectory and freely falling in the descent

Examples of ballistic missile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Iran is allied with the Houthi rebels and has been accused of supplying them with weapons, including ballistic missiles, but Iranian troops are not present on the ground in Yemen. Rick Noack, The Seattle Times, "85,000 children have starved to death during the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, charity reports," 21 Nov. 2018 Depending on the plan chosen by the president, the command will go to US crews operating the submarines carrying nuclear missiles, warplanes that can drop nuclear bombs, or troops overseeing intercontinental ballistic missiles on land. Alex Ward, Vox, "This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you," 19 Oct. 2018 And they're designed to be maneuverable, which differentiates them from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other fast-flying conventional weapons systems that follow predictable paths. Mike Wall,, "US Air Force Zooms Ahead on 2 New Hypersonic Weapons Plans," 20 Aug. 2018 The Kusong test site was being closely monitored by missile experts because North Korea launched its first solid-fuel midrange ballistic missile, known as Pukguksong-2, from there in February last year. Washington Post,, "Trump dangles White House visit for North Korea’s Kim if summit goes well," 8 June 2018 The combining of that dimension with other security topics, like nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, is a strength of the book. Paul R. Pillar, New York Times, "Cyberwarfare — the Latest Technology of Destruction," 19 June 2018 This explains why North Korea has invested so many resources, and been willing to accept crushing international sanctions, in order to develop a nuclear bomb and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could hit the US mainland. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The real reason Trump’s North Korea summit failed," 24 May 2018 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly insisted the return of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea decades ago must be achieved alongside the abandonment of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles before a settlement can be reached. Isabel Reynolds,, "North Korean State Media Assails Japan for Emphasis on Abductees," 13 May 2018 At one point during the shoot, Dovima posed in front of a launch pad rigged with an SM-65 Atlas, which was not actually a spacecraft but the first intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Stephen Mooallem, Harper's BAZAAR, "Pop Goes Bazaar: A Look Back at the Magazine in the 1960s," 9 June 2017

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

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for ballistic missile

The first known use of ballistic missile was in 1950

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More Definitions for ballistic missile

ballistic missile


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 Encyclopedia article about ballistic missile

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


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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