ric·​o·​chet | \ ˈri-kə-ˌshā How to pronounce ricochet (audio) , British also -ˌshet\

Definition of ricochet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a glancing rebound (as of a projectile off a flat surface) the ricochet of the bullet off the wall also : an object that ricochets He was hit by a ricochet.


ricocheted\ ˈri-​kə-​ˌshād How to pronounce ricocheted (audio) \ also ricochetted\ ˈri-​kə-​ˌshe-​təd How to pronounce ricochetted (audio) \; ricocheting\ ˈri-​kə-​ˌshā-​iŋ How to pronounce ricocheting (audio) \ also ricochetting\ ˈri-​kə-​ˌshe-​tiŋ How to pronounce ricochetting (audio) \

Definition of ricochet (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to bounce or skip with or as if with a glancing rebound The bullet that hit President Reagan had ricocheted off the presidential limousine.— David Fisher The ball ricochets at a right angle, falling with force into the first baseman's glove …— Bob Drury The chute snaps open, the sound ricocheting through the gorge like a gunshot, and McGuire is soaring, carving S turns into the air, swooping over a winding creek.— Karl Taro Greenfeld

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Synonyms for ricochet

Synonyms: Verb

bounce, carom, glance, rebound, skim, skip

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Examples of ricochet in a Sentence


He was hit by a ricochet. the ricochet of the bullet off the wall


The bullet ricocheted off the wall. the ball ricocheted off the fielder's glove and went over the fence for a home run
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Here's an image of the fuselage struck by the 20-millimeter round, provided to the Netherlands' NOS News Agency by the Ministry of Defense: Another possibility: the jet was hit with ricochets from the 20-millimeter rounds. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Dutch F-16 Flew Into Its Own Gunfire," 8 Apr. 2019 Each spreads through a population according to its peculiar viral dynamics — some ricochet through a population and then burn out, while others come and go with the seasons. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "That Trump tank meme on Cesar Sayoc’s van was made as a joke, creator says," 26 Oct. 2018 At that point, the remaining material ricochets off the high-density core and is ejected out into space in a massive explosion. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "NASA's New ISS Experiment Will Study Mysterious Pulsars," 29 May 2017 That would have a ricochet effect for American consumers, weakening pension funds and 401(k) investments, as stocks suffer losses. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 The sounds and ricochets seemed to be coming from all directions. Noah Weiland, New York Times, "9 Minutes of Terror, 12 Months of Recovery: Inside the Republican Baseball Team’s Return," 10 June 2018 The ricochet is too hot to handle, though, and is turned over the ball. Andrew Das, New York Times, "Germany’s World Cup Is Saved in the Blink of an Eye (and Flick of a Foot)," 24 June 2018 The helmet weighed three pounds and offered protection against dirt, debris, ricochets, and light shrapnel. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Army’s New Plastic Helmet Weighs Less Than 3 Pounds," 14 June 2018 He was grazed in the side, and then struck again by the bullet’s ricochet. New York Times, "On a Spring Texan Morning, a Sound Heard Too Often at Schools Across America: Bang. Bang. Bang.," 19 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Two bullets ricocheted off a stone column, causing shrapnel to strike one officer. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "$4.85 cab fare squabble in Boulder that led to police shooting now the subject of a lawsuit," 5 June 2019 His comments, which ricocheted through currency and bond markets on Thursday, departed from a convention in which presidents have refrained from speaking specifically on monetary policy. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Trump Digs In Against Criticism on Multiple Fronts," 21 July 2018 The animals are descendants of those imported from Corsica, Europe, and Asia when the island was used for big game hunting — now outlawed because bullets could ricochet to other shores. Emilie C. Harting, Philly.com, "In Washington's San Juan Islands, an expedition cruise and wondrous hiking," 8 Mar. 2018 The puck hit a goal post and ricocheted across the goal line. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings lose at Florida, 3-2, on controversial late goal," 3 Feb. 2018 Smaller groups came together in city parks and downtown squares in every state, a total of 703 places across the country, and photos quickly started ricocheting around social media. Fox News, "Thousands rally nationwide for illegal immigrant families separated at border," 2 Oct. 2018 On Sunday, Parkey’s 43-yard attempt in the closing seconds hit halfway up the upright and ricocheted off the crossbar before harmlessly falling to the ground. Andrew Seligman, The Seattle Times, "Bears come to grips with cruel end to breakthrough season," 7 Jan. 2019 Suddenly a car came hurtling down the steep road, ricocheting off parked cars as its drunken driver struggled to regain control, witnesses told police. Samantha Pearson, WSJ, "In Latin America, Awash in Crime, Citizens Impose Their Own Brutal Justice," 6 Dec. 2018 Photos of the cleverer protests signs ricocheted around Twitter, as did videos of marching and chanting. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Google walkout offers a playbook for successful corporate protests," 2 Nov. 2018

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


1740, in the meaning defined above


1804, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ricochet



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Time Traveler for ricochet

The first known use of ricochet was in 1740

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More Definitions for ricochet



English Language Learners Definition of ricochet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something (such as a bullet or stone) that ricochets off a surface
: the action of ricocheting off a surface



English Language Learners Definition of ricochet (Entry 2 of 2)

: to bounce off a surface and continue moving in a different direction


ric·​o·​chet | \ ˈri-kə-ˌshā How to pronounce ricochet (audio) \
ricocheted; ricocheting

Kids Definition of ricochet

: to bounce off at an angle … the stones and shattered metal fragments ricocheted about dangerously.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

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More from Merriam-Webster on ricochet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ricochet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ricochet

Spanish Central: Translation of ricochet

Nglish: Translation of ricochet for Spanish Speakers

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