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 Yemeni rebels carried out drone and ballistic missile strikes on the Saudi Arabian capital, targeting the ministries of defense and intelligence as well as an air base, a rebel military spokesman claimed Tuesday. Sarah Dadouch,, "Yemeni rebels announce missile and drone strikes on Saudi capital," 23 June 2020 Kim, who unilaterally suspended nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests during talks with Washington and Seoul, entered the new year vowing to bolster his nuclear deterrent. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "North Korea marks 2-year anniversary of Trump-Kim summit by vowing to build up military," 12 June 2020 In that world, the treaty’s verification measures—the sort that allowed American inspectors to see Russia’s fancy new hypersonic boost-gliding intercontinental ballistic missile warhead up close, for instance—would evaporate. Ankit Panda, The New Republic, "The U.S. Can’t “Win” an Arms Race With Russia and China," 27 May 2020 Unlike a cruise missile, which is propelled by a jet engine over its entire flight, a ballistic missile uses a rocket engine to reach much higher speeds. Rhett Allain, Wired, "Trump’s New Space Force Missile Might Be Too ‘Super-Duper’," 26 May 2020 Many were in bunkers before nearly a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles exploded., "Pentagon: 34 Troops Suffered Brain Injuries in Iran Strike," 15 May 2020 In January, after attacking U.S. forces in Iraq with ballistic missiles, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing all 176 people on board. Washington Post, "Iran raises death toll in missile strike: 19 sailors killed," 11 May 2020 Two Patriot missile batteries, weapons designed to down enemy aircraft and incoming ballistic missiles, were withdrawn from Saudi Arabia and two were pulled out of Iraq, according to a U.S. official. Catie Edmondson, New York Times, "Failing to Override a Veto, Senate Falls Short of Curbing Trump’s Iran War Powers," 7 May 2020 The command was originally set up to track Soviet bombers, then ballistic missiles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Fortress Is Back in Business," 6 May 2020

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

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The first known use of ballistic missile was in 1950

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Statistics for ballistic missile

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ballistic missile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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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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