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[mis-uh l or, esp. British, -ahyl] /ˈmɪs əl or, esp. British, -aɪl/
an object or weapon for throwing, hurling, or shooting, as a stone, bullet, or arrow.
capable of being thrown, hurled, or shot, as from the hand or a gun.
used or designed for discharging missiles.
1600-10; < Latin, neuter of missilis, equivalent to miss(us) (past participle of mittere to send, throw) + -ilis -ile Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for missiles
  • Customs inspectors may have simply missed a smuggled bomb or batch of missiles.
  • There was interest in the development of ballistic and guidance missiles.
  • Imagine a factory of missiles that would systematically affirm, it produces only knives.
  • One of its missiles crashed into a large weather satellite.
  • Unmanned aircraft have already been extensively developed and tested to fire missiles.
  • He ultimately took on a task that made shooting down missiles seem pedestrian.
  • Guided by satellites and lasers, missiles found their targets without hitting nearby buildings.
  • But the noises have engineers paying renewed attention to the threat of orbital debris, which can act as missiles.
  • Heat-seeking missiles use these systems for targeting, and astronomers employ them to peer into the dusty hearts of galaxies.
  • Taking out the missiles by bombing them is not going to work.
British Dictionary definitions for missiles


any object or weapon that is thrown at a target or shot from an engine, gun, etc
  1. a rocket-propelled weapon that flies either in a fixed trajectory (ballistic missile) or in a trajectory that can be controlled during flight (guided missile)
  2. (as modifier): a missile carrier
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: missilis, from mittere to send
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for missiles



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for missiles


Related Terms

dumb bomb

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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