sor·​tie ˈsȯr-tē How to pronounce sortie (audio)
: a sudden issuing of troops from a defensive position against the enemy
: one mission or attack by a single plane
: foray, raid
: excursion, expedition
diving sorties
sortie intransitive verb
sortied; sortieing

Examples of sortie in a Sentence

an occasional sortie to the city to rummage through some of its numerous used-book stores
Recent Examples on the Web This surge in Russian sorties presents Ukrainian air-defenders with more targets. David Axe, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Sensing an opportunity, the Russian air force is flying more sorties, closer to the front line, lobbing glide-bombs to suppress Ukrainian troops. David Axe, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Taiwan urges China to stop ‘destructive’ military sorties as tensions mount Last week, Sri Lanka declared a moratorium on Chinese research vessels entering its waters under what analysts say was intense pressure from India. Cate Cadell, Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2024 However, since its first test flight in April 2021, the helicopter has exceeded all expectations by flying more than 50 different sorties across Mars and surviving long and dark winters. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 8 Aug. 2023 Eleven of the sorties crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 27 Jan. 2024 The possibility of multiple sample-return sorties isn’t a pipe dream: China is planning one of its own—a mission called Tianwen-3 that is planned to launch in 2028 and would seek to deliver Mars rocks to Earth as early as mid-2031. Leonard David, Scientific American, 11 Jan. 2024 Aboard for about half of those sorties, Allen and his wife, Gigi, were assisted by volunteers who likewise had strong boating connections to the Abacos. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 21 Jan. 2024 Pentagon hopes security forum in Beijing next week will help restart military communications China’s jet fighters are harassing American military aircraft and stepping up sorties around Taiwan. Alastair Gale, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2023

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

Word History


French, from Middle French, from sortir to go out, leave

First Known Use

1778, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sortie was in 1778

Dictionary Entries Near sortie

Cite this Entry

“Sortie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sor·​tie ˈsȯrt-ē How to pronounce sortie (audio)
: a sudden rushing out of troops from a position of defense against the enemy : sally
sortie verb

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