1611 (adj.) "capable of being thrown," chiefly in phrase missile weapon, from Fr. missile, from L. missile "weapon that can be thrown," from missus, pp. of mittere "to send." The noun meaning "thing thrown or discharged as a weapon" is from 1656. Sense of "self-propelled rocket or bomb" is first recorded 1738; the modern remote guidance projectile so called from 1945.