ballistic missile

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 Obama planned to build a new class of submarines to replace Ohio-class ballistic missile subs. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 1 June 2021 In 2008, a three-foot-long piece of metal was found in the area; according to the Dyatlov Foundation, which took possession of it, the metal is part of a Soviet ballistic missile. Douglas Preston, The New Yorker, 10 May 2021 Several of the astronauts—and possibly all of them will take the short ride on a ballistic missile into space before the first man is orbited. Joseph N. Bell, Popular Mechanics, 5 May 2021 On top of that, in April, the U.S. had successfully tested a new kind of intercontinental ballistic missile called the Minuteman. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, 16 Apr. 2021 It’s been 60 years, to the day, since Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first human to travel to space in a tiny capsule attached to an R-7 ballistic missile, a powerful rocket originally designed to carry a 3-5 megaton nuclear warhead. Pakinam Amer, Scientific American, 12 Apr. 2021 To further escalate, North Korea could fire off longer-range missiles, conduct a nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, possibly from a submarine, Cha and other experts said. NBC News, 30 Mar. 2021 Former President Donald Trump didn’t protest short-range missile launches, emphasizing that Pyongyang hadn’t conducted a nuclear test or launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, 25 Mar. 2021 The official also said shrapnel from a ballistic missile fell near Aramco’s residential area in Dhahran, which hosts thousands of employees and their families. Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for ballistic missile

Time Traveler

The first known use of ballistic missile was in 1950

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Statistics for ballistic missile

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ballistic missile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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