mis·​sile | \ ˈmi-səl How to pronounce missile (audio) , chiefly British -ˌsīl How to pronounce missile (audio) \

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

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 According to state law, consumer fireworks include aerial devices like roman candles and missile-type rockets, ground devices like firecrackers and chasers, and smaller novelty items like those legal in Ohio and Kentucky. Duard Headley, The Enquirer, "Backyard fireworks: What's legal and illegal in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana," 2 July 2020 Turkey then went ahead last year with the purchase of a Russian anti-aircraft missile system, despite NATO warnings that operating such a system was incompatible with membership in the alliance. Carlotta Gall, BostonGlobe.com, "NASA scientist, detained in Turkey for years, returns to US," 30 June 2020 The world saw the result of this in the aftermath of the the U.S. missile defense system’s deployment on the Korean soil. Hye Jin Lee, The Conversation, "Rethinking the K-pop industry’s silence during the Black Lives Matter movement," 26 June 2020 In addition to modernizing its nuclear arsenal, China is developing maneuverable reentry vehicles and hypersonic glide weapons to evade U.S. missile defenses and topping its ICBMs with multiple independently targeted warheads. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Trump wants to replace New START with a treaty that includes China," 25 June 2020 President Trump touched down in Wisconsin for the second time this year, to tour the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard, which was recently awarded a $800 million contract with the U.S. Navy to develop a new missile frigate. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Candidates for prosecutor explore "defund the police"," 25 June 2020 The move followed a spring filled with short-range-missile tests, weeks of raging against the South by the regime’s propaganda organs and the severing of communication lines with the South on June 9th. The Economist, "Out with a bang North Korea blows up detente with the South," 17 June 2020 Japan suspended plans to introduce a multibillion-dollar American missile-defense system, citing major new costs and delays from modifications needed to ensure rocket debris from the system doesn’t endanger local residents. Alastair Gale And Chieko Tsuneoka, WSJ, "Japan Halts Introduction of U.S. Missile-Defense System," 15 June 2020 Kim Jong Un may follow up his move to cut communications links with more missile tests, but making sure to avoid the wrath of Trump. Jon Herskovitz, Bloomberg.com, "Kim Jong Un Raises Pressure on South Korea to Split With Trump," 11 June 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of missile was in 1610

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Statistics for missile

Cite this Entry

“Missile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/missile. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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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 How to pronounce missile (audio) \

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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