pro·​jec·​tile | \prə-ˈjek-tᵊl, -ˌtī(-ə)l, chiefly British ˈprä-jik-ˌtī(-ə)l \

Definition of projectile 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a body projected by external force and continuing in motion by its own inertia especially : a missile for a weapon (such as a firearm)

2 : a self-propelling weapon (such as a rocket)



Definition of projectile (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : projecting or impelling forward a projectile force

2 : capable of being thrust forward

Examples of projectile in a Sentence


The cannon fires a ten-pound projectile. Someone threw a projectile at her car.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The group launched nearly 500 projectiles in response to Sunday’s bungled Israeli intelligence mission. Dov Lieber, WSJ, "Israeli Defense Minister Resigns, Threatening Netanyahu’s Grip on Power," 14 Nov. 2018 Protecting the home against moisture from the ocean (and, more generally, nature’s might) was top of mind: The house has a metal roof and projectile-proof hurricane windows. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "A Fire Island house brings the spirit of sand and surf indoors," 9 July 2018 In Portland, Oregon, police ordered participants in a march by Patriot Prayer to disperse after officers saw assaults and projectiles being thrown. Washington Post, "Protesters flood US cities to fight Trump immigration policy," 1 July 2018 When Vos charged out of the store toward police, one officer fired the projectile launcher. Maura Dolan,, "Appeals court reinstates suit against Newport Beach for police killing of mentally unstable man," 11 June 2018 Spatter This term similarly refers to fluid volcanic projectiles. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "A Brief Glossary of Volcano Vocab," 25 May 2018 The current weapon can launch projectiles at over 4,500 miles per hour. Tom O'connor, Newsweek, "China Says It Is Testing World's First Railgun At Sea, Confirming Leaked Photos of Electromagnetic Weapon," 14 Mar. 2018 The Zumwalt-class destroyers were built to provide naval fire support to amphibious assaults and bombard targets inland with advance, long range projectiles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Navy Stealth Destroyer Gets a 15-Ton Engine Transplant," 5 Sep. 2018 At least five projectiles fell within Israeli communities, two landing near a community center and one next to a kindergarten where children later arrived for the last day of the school year. Noga Tarnopolsky,, "Dozens of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, which quickly retaliates," 20 June 2018

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


1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for projectile

The first known use of projectile was in 1564

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English Language Learners Definition of projectile

: something (such as a bullet or rocket) that is shot from a weapon

: something (such as a rock) that is thrown as a weapon


pro·​jec·​tile | \prə-ˈjek-təl \

Kids Definition of projectile

: something (as a bullet or rocket) thrown or shot especially from a weapon

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More from Merriam-Webster on projectile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with projectile

Spanish Central: Translation of projectile

Nglish: Translation of projectile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of projectile for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about projectile

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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