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 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) \

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

Synonyms for ricochet

Synonyms: Verb

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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: Noun The ricochet bounced up in the air and hung tantalizingly for a moment before the ball and Straw landed in a heap on the warning track. Joe Noga, cleveland, 26 Apr. 2022 As the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war ricochet through global politics, the West has never been more closely aligned. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 21 Mar. 2022 Thomas Amang, if only as a threat, helped to turn a ricochet into the game-winning goal. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Mar. 2022 Second, in firing shots at a target as Newsom is asking and other states are already doing, there’s invariably the risk of a ricochet that wounds you. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2022 His descent was described as more of a ricochet down an icy chute than a freefall through space. The Editors, Outside Online, 24 Feb. 2015 When British skip Bruce Mouat failed to knock it out on a ricochet, the Swedes had clinched it. San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Feb. 2022 The ball bounced out of the basket on the ricochet, but that basket counts. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 17 Feb. 2022 Szeto died at the scene and another bystander was wounded and treated for minor injuries, possibly from a ricochet, Yakel said. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No, the hardest time for most was the following year, when students slowly began trickling back into classrooms, and schools inexplicably asked teachers to ricochet between supporting their students in the classroom and those learning from home. Stephen Noonoo, The New Republic, 2 May 2022 Rumors ricochet around the crowd: The bridge is down! Bruce Barcott, Outside Online, 25 Aug. 2011 Higher energy costs could ricochet through other industries. New York Times, 10 Mar. 2022 The risk is that the ECB might have to increase interest rates sharply to get a handle on inflation, which could ricochet through the region’s economy and potentially trigger a recession. Tom Fairless, WSJ, 3 Feb. 2022 And some argue that banning US exports of oil would ricochet back on US drivers. Matt Egan, CNN, 8 Nov. 2021 And literally papering over sloppy work could ricochet financially if a subsequent owner gets stuck fixing improvements that the seller implied were done in compliance with building codes, Barton said. Joanne Cleaver, chicagotribune.com, 23 Dec. 2021 Your chemistry can ricochet from the feel-good pleasure of dopamine to the fight-or-flight anxiety of cortisol. The Enquirer, 16 Dec. 2021 In most instances, draft opinions ricochet through chambers. Ariane De Vogue, CNN, 22 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of ricochet was in 1740

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ricochet fire

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Last Updated

1 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ricochet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ricochet. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ricochet


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

More from Merriam-Webster on ricochet

Nglish: Translation of ricochet for Spanish Speakers


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