mis·sile | \ˈmi-səl, chiefly British -ˌsīl \

Definition of missile 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : capable of being thrown or projected to strike a distant object

2 : adapted for throwing or hurling missiles



Definition of missile (Entry 2 of 2)

: an object (such as a weapon) thrown or projected usually so as to strike something at a distance stones, artillery shells, bullets, and rockets are missiles : such as

a : guided missile

b : ballistic missile

Examples of missile in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Missile launches and nuclear tests are banned by the U.N. Security Council, but North Korea has paid no attention to its resolutions. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Trump: 'All options are on the table' after North Korea missile launch," 29 Aug. 2017 Missile launches and nuclear tests are banned by the U.N. Security Council, but North Korea has paid no attention to its resolutions. John Wagner, Washington Post, "Trump: ‘All options are on the table’ after North Korea launched missile over Japan," 29 Aug. 2017 Missile experts say the North’s shift to solids came as a surprise. David E. Sanger And William J. Broad, New York Times, "North Korean Tests Add Urgency for U.S. to Fix Defense Flaws," 29 May 2017 Missile experts haven't identified the four intermediate-range missiles that landed on Monday off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, about 620 miles from its... Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "North Korea Missile Test Stirs ICBM Fears," 7 Mar. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Eventually, the golfer with the errant missile appeared and apologized. Tod Leonard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "On first golf trip to States, English boy and father recount saving man's life on course," 11 July 2018 Last January residents of Hawaii believed a nuclear missile was headed their way. Jay Jones, latimes.com, "Hawaii's nuclear scare takes a theatrical turn aimed at healing the fears of that day," 9 July 2018 In the Persian Gulf, the USS Stark had been hit by a missile, killing 37 seamen. Karina Bland, azcentral, "We're looking for hope, and we see it in the faces of the rescued boys in Thailand," 9 July 2018 On Thursday, as his secretary of state was flying to Pyongyang, the President again pointed to eight months without a missile or nuclear test by the North as proof of his success. NBC News, "North Korea shatters Trump's boastful assurances of an easy path to denuclearization," 7 July 2018 Left to its own devices, Taranis can take off, find its way to a combat zone, select a target, attack said target with missiles and then find its way home and land. The Economist, "Tomorrow’s squadron leaders will be accompanied by drones," 5 July 2018 Kinzhal, launched from the atmosphere, would fly below ballistic missile defenses, pitting it instead against traditional air defenses that would have a difficult time engaging a Mach 10 missile. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Aging Bomber Could Sling Mach 10 Missiles," 5 July 2018 Evan Gattis struck two solo shots on Sunday, the second a first-pitch missile to lead off the ninth inning. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros spoil Charlie Morton's gem in loss to Rays," 1 July 2018 Putin also mentioned the Kinzhal hypersonic missile that has already been put on duty with the units of Russia's Southern Military District. Vladimir Isachenkov, chicagotribune.com, "Putin boasts Russia's nuclear weapons are decades ahead of foreign rivals," 28 June 2018

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


1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for missile


Latin missilis, from mittere to throw, send

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Time Traveler for missile

The first known use of missile was in 1610

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More Definitions for missile



English Language Learners Definition of missile

: an object that is thrown, shot, or launched as a weapon; especially : a rocket that explodes when it hits a distant target


mis·sile | \ˈmi-səl \

Kids Definition of missile

: an object (as a stone, arrow, bullet, or rocket) that is dropped, thrown, shot, or launched usually so as to strike something at a distance

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Comments on missile

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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