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 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 If a potential offensive rebound ricochets into open space, opponents might not even be able to pursue it because chasing Siakam in transition takes a higher priority. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 As volleys in the U.S.-China trade war ricochet from Beijing to Biarritz, ginseng farmers in Marathon County, Wis., are watching with unease; their survival depends on China. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "Wisconsin Ginseng Farmers Had Been Exporting to China for a Century. Then Came the Trade War," 31 Aug. 2019 The ball bounced off the backstop and right to Martin as Mejia darted home, but Martin muffed the ricochet and Mejia slid home safely to tie the score. Los Angeles Times, "Kenley Jansen blows another save, but Dodgers still come on top in extras," 28 Aug. 2019 In Minnesota, a similar scene played out — Orlando City secured a lead, defended its goal into the 90th minute and then let an errant ricochet on a throw-in lead to a goal. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Three things we learned from Orlando City’s 1-1 road draw with Minnesota United," 10 Aug. 2019 The process was, judging from the results, liberating for Coppola—paradoxically so, because the film may be his most personal work, albeit by ricochet. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: “Tucker: The Man and His Dream,” a Slyly Personal Francis Ford Coppola Film," 2 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately for the Brits, such dance-makers as Boris Eifman and Matthew Bourne have made obsession far more compelling, and on Friday, Ryoichi Hirano as Rudolf didn’t so much unify the components of the role as ricochet between them. Lewis Segal, latimes.com, "Review: Royal Ballet comes to L.A. for the first time in years with ‘Mayerling’," 7 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Without hesitation, Borgen ripped a shot from 20 yards out that ricocheted off the fingertips of Silver Lake goalie Emma Hudson and into the top left corner of the net. BostonGlobe.com, "On Thursday afternoon, the Whitman-Hanson sophomore took a feed from the midfield, sprinted down the right wing, outpacing every Silver Lake defender, and fired a shot into the net, capping her three-goal performance in a 3-0 Patriot League win for the fifth-ranked Panthers.," 18 Oct. 2019 Receiving his first start since joining Napoli on deadline day, Llorente was ready and well positioned when a shot from Milik ricocheted into his path, using one touch to put the Partenopei ahead midway through the first half. Andrew Dampf, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Napoli’s Llorente shines again after helping beat Liverpool," 22 Sep. 2019 As the cross whipped into the box, Orlando City forward Tesho Akindele stuck out his leg, sending the ball ricocheting into the backside netting just past Lions goalkeeper Brian Rowe. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Nani leads Orlando City to dig out 3-3 draw against New England Revolution," 5 Aug. 2019 After Orlando City peppered several dangerous crosses — giving Santiago Patiño a point-blank shot that ricocheted off the right post — LAFC finally countered in the 78th minute. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City battle for a 2-2 home draw against LAFC," 8 Sep. 2019 In July, her answer defining white privilege ricocheted across the internet and drew plaudits from progressives. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, "How Kirsten Gillibrand’s Presidential Dreams Unraveled," 29 Aug. 2019 Moments later, Elis took the express route down the right sideline, setting up a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Dynamo rally to draw against Rapids," 17 Aug. 2019 The question that ricocheted out of the various settlements and probes was, of course, just how meaningful that action actually was. Casey Newton, The Verge, "It’s time to regulate tech platforms with laws, not fines," 30 July 2019 Teka’s autopsy, which has been described in the Israeli press but has not been made public, appears to sustain the possibility that Teka was hit in the chest by a bullet that ricocheted, killing him. Noga Tarnopolsky, Los Angeles Times, "Ethiopian Israelis protest after officer in shooting of unarmed man is released and faces lesser charge," 15 July 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

Statistics for ricochet

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ricochet

The first known use of ricochet was in 1740

See more words from the same year

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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!