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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Commodity and oil prices are already softening as a result, which could ricochet into U.S. shale oil investment. Greg Ip, WSJ, "U.S. Turns From Uniter to Disrupter on Global Stage," 20 June 2018 No sitting president has ever met with a North Korean leader, and the summit will produce images that ricochet instantly around the globe. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Has North Korea already trumped the U.S. in the propaganda war?," 2 June 2018 Put into practice, tariffs are a complex economic weapon that can ricochet through an economy in ways even proponents don’t expect. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "Whirlpool Wanted Washer Tariffs. It Wasn’t Ready for a Trade Showdown.," 16 July 2018 Bregman hit a ball that ricocheted off home plate, briefly rolled in foul territory and then rolled fair. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Houston Astros get wild walk-off win against Oakland Athletics," 11 July 2018 More recently, Trump appointees have starred in a flurry of in-your-face encounters that ricochet around social media for days on end. Paul Schwartzman And Josh Dawsey, chicagotribune.com, "'It's burning people out': Trump aides endure public fury toward president's policies around D.C.," 9 July 2018 More recently, Trump appointees have starred in a flurry of in-your-face encounters that ricochet around social media for days on end. Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, "‘Viciousness’: Trump aides endure public fury toward president’s policies," 9 July 2018 More recently, Trump appointees have starred in a flurry of in-your-face encounters that ricochet around social media for days on end. Author: Paul Schwartzman, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "'Viciousness': Trump aides endure public fury toward president's policies," 9 July 2018 On June 8, 2017, a story published by The Oregonian/OregonLive became the comet that ricocheted 'round the baseball universe and beyond. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "Inside Luke Heimlich's senior season with the Oregon State baseball team," 8 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

4 Feb 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

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).


excited commotion or publicity

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