\ ˈlȯnch How to pronounce launch (audio) , ˈlänch \
launched; launching; launches

Definition of launch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to throw forward : hurl launched an arrow at a target
b : to release, catapult, or send off (a self-propelled object) launch a rocket
2a : to set (a boat or ship) afloat
b : to give (a person) a start launched her on a new career
c(1) : to put into operation or set in motion : initiate, introduce launch a business launch a fund drive
(2) : to get off to a good start a literary dinner to launch the bookNewsweek
d : to load into a computer's memory and run launch a program

intransitive verb

1a : to spring forward : take off The catapult snagged and the plane overturned before it could launch.
b : to enter energetically launched into an impromptu speech— Tim Tucker
2a archaic : to slide down the ways
b : to make a start had launched on his hour of study— Hallam Tennyson


noun (1)

Definition of launch (Entry 2 of 3)

: an act or instance of launching


noun (2)

Definition of launch (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a large boat that operates from a ship
2 : a small motorboat that is open or that has the forepart of the hull covered

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Examples of launch in a Sentence

Verb The enemy launched an attack at sunrise. She's trying to launch a new career as a singer. The police have launched an investigation into his activities. He helped launch her in her career as a singer. The company is expected to launch several new products next year. You can launch the program by double-clicking on the icon.
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First Known Use of launch


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

1749, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for launch

Verb and Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French *lancher, lancer, from Late Latin lanceare to wield a lance — more at lance

Noun (2)

Spanish or Portuguese; Spanish lancha, from Portuguese

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Time Traveler for launch

Time Traveler

The first known use of launch was in the 14th century

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Statistics for launch

Cite this Entry

“Launch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for launch


How to pronounce launch (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of launch

: to send or shoot (something, such as a rocket) into the air or water or into outer space
: to put (a boat or ship) on the water
: to throw (something) forward in a forceful way


\ ˈlȯnch How to pronounce launch (audio) \
launched; launching

Kids Definition of launch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to throw or spring forward : hurl McNab scooped up a handful of track stones. He launched one.— Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee
2 : to send off especially with force launch a spacecraft
3 : to set afloat launch a ship
4 : to give a start to : begin launch a plan



Kids Definition of launch (Entry 2 of 3)

: an act of launching a rocket launch



Kids Definition of launch (Entry 3 of 3)

: a small open or partly covered motorboat

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