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star shell

a shell that bursts in the air and produces a bright light to illuminate enemy positions.
Origin of star shell
1875-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for star-shell
Historical Examples
  • The light of the star-shell waned and died away; the Corporal spoke to Bill.

    The Red Horizon Patrick MacGill
  • And he lunged upwards at the dangling figure in the light of the star-shell!

  • At night the attackers must be illuminated by star-shell, flares, or searchlights.

    The Blocking of Zeebrugge Alfred F. B. Carpenter
  • Minutes pass, and below us gleams the fading loveliness of a star-shell.

    'Green Balls' Paul Bewsher
  • Or he would hurl the bomb high into the air, so that it burst above the enemy like a rocket or a star-shell.

    Tell England Ernest Raymond
  • The star-shell had the same missions as other flares, but it was projected by a charge of powder from a gun.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • I made myself known, but the two men moved off and fired a star-shell in my direction.

  • The fire kept up steadily, and at irregular intervals a star-shell would illuminate the high mountains.

    Lucia Rudini Martha Trent
  • Or a flare from a star-shell might reveal him crouching beside his prisoner.

  • Finally I spotted him sprawled out, apparently dead, as a star-shell lit up the ground within the range of the periscope.

British Dictionary definitions for star-shell

star shell

an artillery shell containing a flare or other illuminant: often containing a parachute to prolong the descent of the illuminating material
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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