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ric·​o·​chet ˈri-kə-ˌshā How to pronounce ricochet (audio)
 British also  -ˌshet
: 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.


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

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Argentina lost after a freak ricochet score and a moment of genius by Saudi attacker Salem al-Dawsari who evaded three Argentine players and scorched a shot past Argentine stopper Dibu Martínez. John Hopewell, Variety, 16 Jan. 2024 After a few seconds, while the two tussle, a gun seems to go off and a bullet ricochets off the pavement near the body of the man, who remains on the ground. Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 One of them suffered a ricochet wound, Taylor said. CBS News, 31 Jan. 2023 Based on the details of those ricochets, the group could infer how the material responded to the collision, which in turn revealed properties of any waves the collision created. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 9 Oct. 2023 No hoping that a ricochet goes their way in a shootout. John Powers, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Aug. 2023 Such a ricochet actually stretches the brain’s neurons, which may disrupt the cells’ crucial connectivity and the flow of neurotransmitters. Lauren J. Young, Scientific American, 18 July 2023 Gibson eventually learned the wall was slightly angled, causing that ricochet. Nathan Ruiz, Baltimore Sun, 28 July 2023 And Portugal came within a ricochet of knocking out the Americans. John Powers, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Aug. 2023
The pop of gunfire ricocheted through the streets, and the demonstrators started running for their lives. John Eligon Joao Silva, New York Times, 17 Feb. 2024 The headlines ricocheted throughout the media, but the group never got off the ground, and News, Axel and IAC have all forged ahead on their own terms. Lachlan Cartwright, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Feb. 2024 The actors must also project their lines above the bang of pots and pans ricocheting off of stainless steel, the sizzling of cooking food or the whoosh of running water. Jill Wendholt Silva, Kansas City Star, 30 Jan. 2024 The ball ricocheted off Kindle Vildor as Aiyuk fell to the turf, advancing the football to the 6-yard line. USA TODAY, 29 Jan. 2024 The victory wasn’t secured until Oregon’s Camden Lewis kicked the extra point, which hit the left upright and ricocheted in. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Dec. 2023 In a city of strivers ricocheting around in congested isolation, the park is an island of repose, a place where lives intersect and time slows. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 25 Nov. 2023 Needless to say, the consequences of all of those decisions will ricochet and have significant impacts across borders. Irina Raicu, The Mercury News, 27 Jan. 2024 In the hours after his death, his name and likeness ricocheted around a dark corner of the internet, where profiteers using artificial intelligence tools capitalized on the anguish and desperation of the people who were mourning him. Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ricochet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History




First Known Use


1740, in the meaning defined above


1804, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ricochet was in 1740

Dictionary Entries Near ricochet

Cite this Entry

“Ricochet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ricochet. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
ric·​o·​chet ˈrik-ə-ˌshā How to pronounce ricochet (audio)
 British also  -ˌshet
: a bouncing off at an angle (as of a bullet off a flat surface)
: an object that ricochets


2 of 2 verb
also ricochetted
; ricocheting
also ricochetting
: to bounce off at an angle

More from Merriam-Webster on ricochet

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