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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for ricochet

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of ricochet in a Sentence

Noun He was hit by a ricochet. the ricochet of the bullet off the wall Verb The bullet ricocheted off the wall. the ball ricocheted off the fielder's glove and went over the fence for a home run
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The hunter, who police did not identify, saw the round ricochet off the ground. baltimoresun.com, "Maryland State Police: Man arrested on Eastern Shore after dispute with fellow hunter," 1 Dec. 2019 The second victim, a juvenile, was shot in the foot from a ricochet bullet while the third victim left the scene and went to his aunt's house. Alta Spells, CNN, "3 men shot while leaving a concert in Salt Lake City," 23 Nov. 2019 The ball hit him in the back and Zakoby McClain caught the ricochet for a 100-yard sprint. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "The story of Mac Jones’ complex Iron Bowl start and the plays that defined it," 1 Dec. 2019 Correa grabbed the ricochet with his bare hand as the Yankees' leadoff hitter touched third base. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Carlos Correa lifts Astros to walkoff win over Yankees in Game 2," 14 Oct. 2019 The offense didn’t re-enter the red zone until the fourth quarter, and kicker Justin Tucker was fortunate to have his second field-goal attempt ricochet off the left upright and through. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "Instant analysis: Lamar Jackson’s huge rushing day lifts Ravens over Bengals, 23-17," 13 Oct. 2019 Even as rhymes ricochet about, the whole seems to eddy from the walls into the room’s center. BostonGlobe.com, "The installation nods outward to the space it inhabits. Even as rhymes ricochet about, the whole seems to eddy from the walls into the room’s center.," 31 Oct. 2019 In the second slam, Grant flew in for an ricochet rebound and stuffed the ball home early in the fourth. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Torrey Craig’s overtime block saves Nuggets in home opener vs. Suns," 25 Oct. 2019 Next, Tinsley scored again, a header off a crossbar ricochet from Brooke Gale’s shot attempt. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "Youth soccer results," 18 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The chase began after a jewelry store robbery in Coral Gables, where a woman was struck in the head by a ricocheting bullet. Washington Post, "Family honors Florida UPS driver slain in police shootout," 10 Dec. 2019 Garcia was struck in the chest by a ricocheting bullet. Alene Tchekmedyianstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County to pay $3 million after shots fired by deputies at charging dog mistakenly kill teen," 17 Sep. 2019 Buck’s five-minute remarks that day ricocheted across conservative media and into the mainstream press, far more than a speech about the statutory definition of bribery would have. Justin Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Impeachment hearings put Colorado congressmen in the limelight," 20 Dec. 2019 Rapid movement followed by sudden halts and reversals have long marked the roller-coaster political career of Johnson, who ricocheted between high office and political back benches before becoming prime minister two months ago. Washington Post, "Another fine mess: Brexit-dogged Johnson’s UN trip goes awry," 24 Sep. 2019 The notion that Trump would be indicted, absent that guidance, ricocheted online, and Harris posted the Lieu-Mueller exchange with her tweet. Calvin Woodward, Fortune, "Fact-Checking Trump Claims and Mueller Hearing," 24 July 2019 The ball ricocheted off Chaney's fingertips and out of bounds. Scottie Bordelon, Arkansas Online, "Jones scores 41, leads Hogs past Tulsa," 14 Dec. 2019 The curators have chosen works whose meanings ricochet in multiple directions. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "An urgent look at 400 years of history: ‘Black Atlantic’ exhibit in Oberlin explores impact of slavery," 25 Aug. 2019 That undercut at least one theory — that Long was killed by a ricocheting bullet fired by a bodyguard. Sam Roberts, BostonGlobe.com, "Dr. Carl Weiss Jr., 84, his father, he said, didn’t kill Huey Long," 15 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of ricochet


1740, in the meaning defined above


1804, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ricochet



Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ricochet

Time Traveler for ricochet

Time Traveler

The first known use of ricochet was in 1740

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ricochet

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ricochet.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ricochet. Accessed 24 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ricochet


How to pronounce ricochet (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ricochet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ricochet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ricochet

Spanish Central: Translation of ricochet

Nglish: Translation of ricochet for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ricochet

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!