ric·​o·​chet | \ ˈri-kə-ˌshā, 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 \ also ricochetted\ ˈri-​kə-​ˌshe-​təd \; ricocheting\ ˈri-​kə-​ˌshā-​iŋ \ also ricochetting\ ˈri-​kə-​ˌshe-​tiŋ \

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

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 The premiere's music ricochets between recognizable favorites, like Houston's anthem and Chaka Khan, to the '70s disco of the balls, to Kate Bush's crooning. refinery29.com, "Inside The Secrets Of Pose's Exuberant '80s Soundtrack," 7 June 2018 After review, the ricochet off Stastny’s glove was deemed a good goal and the Jets took a 1-0 lead. Kristen Nelson, SI.com, "Stanley Cup Playoff Roundup: Capitals Edge Penguins; Jets Roll Past Predators," 6 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The ball struck one fan in the shoulder, then ricocheted off the phone of another before settling in some thick grass just off the green. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Francesco Molinari Wins the British Open," 22 July 2018 In the 88th minute, Manotas just missed when the ball ricocheted off of the post. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Dynamo dominate Colorado Rapids for shutout victory," 9 June 2018 The bullet hit McGowen's flashlight, and shards ricocheted into his eye. Sarah Parvini, latimes.com, "For Visalia police, Golden State Killer suspect is 'the ghost we've been chasing'," 7 May 2018 Another ball into the box was seemingly dealt with by Dejan Lovren, but his clearance smashed into the side of midfielder Milner's head and ricocheted past Karius into the Liverpool goal. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool see off spirited Roma to reach Champions League final," 2 May 2018 According to his account, his mother hit his sister with her gun and the shots that were intended for him ricochetted off gasoline canisters that were being stored in his room, AZ Central reported. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Arizona Republican Bobby Wilson Said Gabby Giffords "Created a Target"," 18 July 2018 Bullets whizzing past perk up your ears, then ricochet, and land near your character model, triggering some subtle bass from the subwoofer. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Razer Nommo Pro speakers review: versatility comes at a price," 27 Sep. 2018 Its woes ricocheted, hitting shares of the ad industry’s biggest company, WPP PLC, which fell 2.9% in London trading. Nick Kostov, WSJ, "Shares in Ad Giants Fall as Publicis Sales Disappoint," 19 July 2018 The ball ricocheted towards the Lakeland dugout, and Johnson went down. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Bad hop nearly took Waterford Mott player's life, but not his spirit," 3 June 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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Statistics for ricochet

Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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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