can·​non·​ball | \ˈka-nən-ˌbȯl \

Definition of cannonball 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually round solid missile made for firing from a cannon

2 : a jump into water made with the arms holding the knees tight against the chest

3 : a hard flat tennis service

4 : an express train


cannonballed; cannonballing; cannonballs

Definition of cannonball (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to travel with great speed

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Examples of cannonball in a Sentence


a dune buggy came recklessly cannonballing down the crowded beach

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Inside the park's visitors' center, a tree limb on display is riddled with shrapnel and cannonballs, illustrating how lethal the battle really was. CBS News, "Rooted in history: Gettysburg's "Witness Trees"," 8 July 2018 Unlike the persistent debate over how to pronounce their name (it’s Sloth-rust, officially), the LA-by-way-of-New York power trio is a juggernaut of cannonball riffs and lyrical intrigue. Chris Payne, Billboard, "Slothrust Announce New Album, Premiere Fuzzy Grunge-Pop Track 'Peach': Exclusive," 28 June 2018 Pool activities include diving for treasure, cannonball crush, hook it and ship raider race. Linda Mcintosh,, "5 new Daughters of the American Revolution," 13 Apr. 2018 With days this long, humidity this palpable, is there anything more quenching than a slip—or a cannonball—into a swimming pool? Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "This Summer Bar Soap Looks Like a Steve McQueen Pool Party," 29 June 2018 Onfroy's early death will likely do little to still the controversy stirred up by his improbable cannonball into the mainstream. Kyle Swenson,, "XXXTentacion: The nasty, brutish and short life of the chart-topping rapper," 20 June 2018 One night takes place in a private, tasteful dining room above Chinatown's most hectic block; the next is at a former cannonball factory in Red Hook. Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler, "You Don't Have to Leave New York for This Oaxaca Retreat," 12 June 2018 Many Civil War soldiers suffered from gunshot and cannonball wounds that were quickly treated in crowded and unsanitary battlefield hospitals, which promoted infections. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "South America’s Inca civilization was better at skull surgery than Civil War doctors," 8 June 2018 That’s exactly what happened in 1924, launching huge boulders like cannonballs and producing a fair amount of ash. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Here’s what’s going on with Hawaii’s erupting volcano," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In February 2017, Ford cannonballed into the market, investing $1 billion self-driving startup Argo. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Softbank Pours $2.25 Billion Into GM's Bid for Self-Driving Dominance," 31 May 2018 In what can be considered typical Harbaugh fashion at this point, the Wolverines coach went ahead and cannonballed into the poll wearing his trademark khakis and polo. Chris Kwiecinski, ajc, "Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh spends his bye week Saturday practicing his cannonball," 30 Sep. 2017 Amazon effectively cannonballed into the placid waters of the grocery industry by grabbing headlines with price cuts. Greg Trotter,, "5 lessons learned from Amazon's first week with Whole Foods," 31 Aug. 2017

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


1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1951, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of cannonball was in 1655

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More Definitions for cannonball



English Language Learners Definition of cannonball

: a heavy metal or stone ball that is shot from a cannon


can·​non·​ball | \ˈka-nən-ˌbȯl \

Kids Definition of cannonball

1 : a usually round solid missile (as of stone or metal) for firing from a cannon

2 : a jump into water made with the arms holding the knees tight against the chest

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Comments on cannonball

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


playful or foolish behavior

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