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"thing thrown or discharged as a weapon," is 1650s, from missile (adj.), 1610s, "capable of being thrown," chiefly in phrase missile weapon, from French missile and directly from Latin missilis "that may be thrown or hurled" (also, in plural, as a noun, "weapons that can be thrown, darts, javelins"), from missus "a throwing, hurling," past participle of mittere "to send" (see mission). Sense of "self-propelled rocket or bomb" is first recorded 1738; the modern remote guidance projectile so called from 1945.