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 The team last year said it was convinced that the Buk missile system used to shoot down flight MH17 came from the Russian army's 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, based in the Russian city of Kursk. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "MH17 probe: Russia, Ukraine rebels had ‘almost daily contact’ before plane’s downing, investigators say," 14 Nov. 2019 On Wednesday — with Washington transfixed on the House impeachment inquiry — North Korea significantly raised the stakes, making an implicit threat to resume long-range missile or nuclear tests. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "North Korea threatens military escalation as clock ticks on year-end deadline," 14 Nov. 2019 At one point, Jordan noted that Trump had already approved selling Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, something the Obama Administration had declined to do. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "Jim Jordan Tries to Recast Trump as the Hero of the Ukraine Scandal," 14 Nov. 2019 In the Senate, Lugar was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and led a bipartisan effort to dismantle more than 7,600 nuclear warheads, millions of chemical munitions and thousands of missiles. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "A U.S. Navy warship will be named after Richard Lugar," 13 Nov. 2019 Wenstrup, in his questioning of Taylor on Wednesday, used his time to criticize the administration of President Barack Obama, for denying to Ukraine lethal military aid, such as Javelin missiles. Scott Wartman, Cincinnati.com, "Impeachment hearings: Cincinnati's Brad Wenstrup defends Trump, criticizes Obama as impeachment inquiry goes public," 13 Nov. 2019 The Trump administration in 2017 agreed to provide lethal aid to Ukraine, later committing to sell $47 million in Javelin anti-tank missiles. Calvin Woodward, The Denver Post, "Fact check: House Trump impeachment inquiry — Day 1," 13 Nov. 2019 Schools were closed in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area as air-raid sirens blared and Iron Dome missiles intercepted dozens of rockets. BostonGlobe.com, "Israel described the Gaza commander, Bahaa Abu el-Atta, as a “ticking bomb” who was “responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s activity in the Gaza Strip.” Islamic Jihad said that the commander’s wife, Asmaa Abu el-Atta, was also killed in the 4 a.m. missile strike.," 13 Nov. 2019 One young woman was hit on the head by a missile and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, according to reports that said a dozen protestors had been arrested. Nick Holdsworth, The Hollywood Reporter, "Protestors Clash with Police at Screening of Gay-Themed Movie in Tbilisi, Georgia," 8 Nov. 2019

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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Statistics for missile

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 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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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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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