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[rik-uh-shey, rik-uh-shey or, esp. British, rik-uh-shet] /ˌrɪk əˈʃeɪ, ˈrɪk əˌʃeɪ or, esp. British, ˈrɪk əˌʃɛt/
the motion of an object or a projectile in rebounding or deflecting one or more times from the surface over which it is passing or against which it hits a glancing blow.
verb (used without object), ricocheted
[rik-uh-sheyd, rik-uh-sheyd] /ˌrɪk əˈʃeɪd, ˈrɪk əˌʃeɪd/ (Show IPA),
[rik-uh-shey-ing, rik-uh-shey-ing] /ˌrɪk əˈʃeɪ ɪŋ, ˈrɪk əˌʃeɪ ɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
or (especially British) ricochetted
[rik-uh-shet-id] /ˈrɪk əˌʃɛt ɪd/ (Show IPA),
[rik-uh-shet-ing] /ˈrɪk əˌʃɛt ɪŋ/ (Show IPA)
to move in this way, as a projectile.
Origin of ricochet
1760-70; < French; origin uncertain
2. rebound, deflect, glance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ricocheted
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is probable that a larger mass of the shrapnel ball, causing the greater damage to the bone, ricocheted out of the wound.

    Gunshot Roentgenograms Clyde S. Ford
  • One of the tiny slugs stung through my calf and ricocheted down the passage.

    Greylorn John Keith Laumer
  • The missile was a fragment of a ricocheted rifle ball, with a part of the lead core carried in a portion of the jacket.

    Gunshot Roentgenograms Clyde S. Ford
  • Once, a stray shell burst several hundred yards away and a flying crumb of masonry fell in the nave and ricocheted a moment.

    The Wasted Generation Owen Johnson
  • It ricocheted three times with a twanging noise and split along the centre.

  • He reminded one much of a billiard ball in the way he bounced, collided and ricocheted amongst taller men.

    The Brain Alexander Blade
British Dictionary definitions for ricocheted


/ˈrɪkəˌʃeɪ; ˈrɪkəˌʃɛt/
verb -chets, -cheting (-ˌʃeɪɪŋ), -cheted (-ˌʃeɪd), -chets, -chetting (-ˌʃɛtɪŋ), -chetted (-ˌʃɛtɪd)
(intransitive) (esp of a bullet) to rebound from a surface or surfaces, usually with a characteristic whining or zipping sound
the motion or sound of a rebounding object, esp a bullet
an object, esp a bullet, that ricochets
Word Origin
C18: from French, of unknown origin
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 ricocheted



1758, originally in a military sense, from French ricochet (n.) "the skipping of a shot, or of a flat stone on water" (see ricochet (n.). Related: Ricochetted; ricochetting.


1769, from ricochet (v.) or French ricochet "the skipping of a shot or of a flat stone on water," but in earliest French use (15c.) "verbal to-and-fro," and only in the phrase fable du ricochet, an entertainment in which the teller of a tale skillfully evades questions, and chanson du ricochet, a kind of repetitious song; of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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