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

In withdrawing from the deal last year, Trump pointed to the accord not limiting Iran’s ballistic missile program and not addressing what American officials describe as Tehran’s malign influence across the wider Middle East. Jon Gambrell, The Denver Post, "Two oil tankers targeted near Strait of Hormuz amid Iran-U.S. tensions," 13 June 2019 The construction of a facility for producing ballistic missiles in the kingdom has also provoked suspicion of Saudi nuclear aims. Daniel Benjamin, The New York Review of Books, "Reckless in Riyadh," 30 May 2019 Lasers could go after ground targets, too, particularly combustible ones such as the fuel tanks of ballistic missiles and enemy fuel dumps. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Will Test Laser Weapons by 2021," 3 Dec. 2018 Moon is dealing with a North Korea that could already have dozens of bombs and a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles, including intercontinental-range weapons that may be able to reach the U.S. mainland. Kim Tong-hyung, Fox News, "Unfinished business: Moon's summit dreams echo late mentor," 18 Sep. 2018 With virtually no public discussion or debate, the Army commandos are helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites that Houthi rebels in Yemen are using to attack Riyadh and other Saudi cities. BostonGlobe.com, "US special forces secretly help Saudis fight Yemeni rebels," 3 May 2018 The video by the Outrider Foundation explains step-by-step how to break down a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, from disassembling and disposing of the rocket side to the nuclear weapon payload itself. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "How to Dismantle a Nuclear Missile," 10 Apr. 2019 Instead, it is meant to be launched after a nuclear attack on Russia, literally going under America’s ballistic missile defenses. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Releases Test Video of Poseidon Nuclear Attack Drone," 22 Feb. 2019 In addition to beefing up its nuclear arsenal, Belousov said, the U.S. is developing a global ballistic missile defense. Edith M. Lederer, The Seattle Times, "Russia says US is increasing nukes in military planning," 22 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of ballistic missile

1950, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ballistic missile

Statistics for ballistic missile

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ballistic missile

The first known use of ballistic missile was in 1950

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on ballistic missile

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

WORD OF THE DAY

providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!