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

Edward's catapults battered the walls and hurled all sorts of projectiles over the castle walls, but the Scots remained defiant. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "The Legend of Ludgar the War Wolf, King of the Trebuchets," 1 May 2017 Interstate 4 drivers have reported construction-zone incidents in which their cars were skewered by projectiles, bombarded with concrete, doused in oil, submerged in floodwater, broken by potholes and whacked with light poles. Kevin Spear,, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 2018 Eventually, the celebration turned from fun to fraught, which was too much for the city police, as, according to The Telegraph, some fans threw bottles and other projectiles. Melissa Locker, Time, "France Goes Wild In the Streets After Their World Cup Win," 11 July 2018 Firefighters in Concord, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte, said the playful-looking pyrotechnics shoot flames and, in the case of the My Little Pony version, projectiles from their horns. Matthew Diebel, USA TODAY, "Fourth of July warning: These fireworks look like My Little Pony and Pete's Dragon toys," 3 July 2018 Since they can be filled with a range of materials, the water bottles also become highly flexible projectiles that can be adapted within moments to meet mission needs. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "School shootings: This cannon fires unbelievable ammo to blast through walls and help rescue victims," 31 May 2018 Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad militant issued a joint statement Tuesday, claiming shared responsibility for firing rockets and projectiles against Israeli communities near Gaza. Josef Federman, The Seattle Times, "Gaza militants strike Israel, drawing Israeli retaliation," 29 May 2018 Authorities also retrieved one projectile and casing. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Child accidentally shot woman in school parking lot, authorities say," 22 May 2018 Two of the smoke bombs tipped over and became projectiles moving at 150 miles per hour toward the group. Michael Paterniti, GQ, "Dragonman, the Man Who Sells “People-Hunting Guns”," 7 Mar. 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

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for projectile

The first known use of projectile was in 1564

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More Definitions for projectile



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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Comments on projectile

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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