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

Unlike railguns, these are chemical energy guns that use gunpowder to launch projectiles, a basic technology hundreds of years old. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Quietly Tested Mach 3 Heavy Gun Shells That Could Revolutionize Surface Warfare," 8 Jan. 2019 An article in the Israel Medical Association Journal this month also showed increase of these projectile eye injuries in young males in that country., "Eye injuries from air guns increasing among children," 11 Jan. 2018 Even right now, players are finding ways to take out opponents with basketballs, the tomahawk projectile, and by crashing vehicles into another. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Black Ops 4 merges Fortnite and PUBG into the best Call of Duty in years," 19 Oct. 2018 The class has suffered several setbacks, including the trimming of the number of ships built from 32 to 3, the cancellation of the long range projectile, and hardware problems with the lead ship. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Navy Stealth Destroyer Gets a 15-Ton Engine Transplant," 5 Sep. 2018 The coalition said the projectile, fired toward the southwestern Saudi city of Jizan, was intercepted and destroyed. Ahmed Al-haj, Fox News, "Yemen tribal leaders: Airstrikes in country's north kill 20," 9 Aug. 2018 Overdose: Deep vibrations, projectile vomiting, self-transcendence. Blanca Myers, WIRED, "A Microguide to Microdosing Psychedelic Drugs," 26 June 2018 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

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

14 Jan 2019

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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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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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