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

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

Noun The cannon fires a ten-pound projectile. Someone threw a projectile at her car.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And every fraction of an ounce of that creates drag on projectiles, slowing them down. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "How Cold Weather Can Kill Bullet Trajectory," 23 Dec. 2019 The statement from the North Korean foreign ministry followed Pyongyang's launch of two short-range projectiles into the ocean on Thursday. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "North Korea blasts Japanese PM as 'idiot,' warns of ballistic missile launch toward Japan," 2 Dec. 2019 One protester, who was speaking peacefully at the time, was hit in the face with a projectile and later lost use of his eye. Jess Mchugh, Fortune, "After a Violent ‘Yellow Vest’ Anniversary, What’s Next for the Movement?," 25 Nov. 2019 Short-range projectiles could feasibly reach U.S. military bases and allies. NBC News, "Trump says North Korea's Kim apologized for missile tests, wants to meet again," 10 Aug. 2019 The Europeans have balked at the possibility of medium-range missile restrictions, arguing that existing U.N. resolutions on Iran only focus on longer-range projectiles. Josh Lederman,, "Trump's Mideast peace plan in limbo as Netanyahu set to visit White House," 5 Mar. 2018 Barnes said the police department has enforced the projectile ordinance only about 10 times in the past 15 years. Ryan Prior, CNN, "After a 50-year 'ban,' a Wisconsin town is allowing snowball fights again," 24 Dec. 2019 Before the advent of the bow and arrow, atlatls were one of the most ubiquitous means of hurling projectiles. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "These Miniature Tools Taught Ancient Children How to Hunt and Fight," 21 Dec. 2019 Throughout the months of protests, numerous members of the press have sustained varying degrees of injuries from police projectiles. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Hong Kong journalists took over a police news conference in protest," 28 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for projectile

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The first known use of projectile was in 1564

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Projectile.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for projectile


How to pronounce projectile (audio) How to pronounce projectile (audio)

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 How to pronounce projectile (audio) \

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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