noun, plural torpedoes.
a self-propelled, cigar-shaped missile containing explosives and often equipped with a homing device, launched from a submarine or other warship, for destroying surface vessels or other submarines.
any of various submarine explosive devices for destroying hostile ships, as a mine.
a cartridge of gunpowder, dynamite, or the like, exploded in an oil well to facilitate the extraction of oil from the well.
a detonating device fastened to the top of a rail so as to be exploded by the pressure of a locomotive or car, thus giving an audible signal to members of a train crew.
any of various other explosive devices, as a firework that consists of an explosive wrapped up with gravel in a piece of tissue paper and that detonates when thrown forcibly on the ground or against a hard surface.
Also called torpedo fish. an electric ray, especially Torpedo nobiliana, of the Atlantic Ocean.
an electric catfish, Malapterurus electricus, inhabiting waters of tropical central Africa and the Nile valley.
Informal. a hero sandwich.
Slang. a gangster hired as a murderer.
verb (used with object), torpedoed, torpedoing.
to attack, hit, damage, or destroy with torpedoes.
to explode a torpedo in (an oil well) to facilitate the extraction of oil.
to undermine, ruin, or destroy: He torpedoed our plans.
verb (used without object), torpedoed, torpedoing.
to attack, damage, or sink a ship with torpedoes.

1510–20; < Latin torpēdō numbness, torpidity, electric ray, equivalent to torpē(re) to be stiff (see torpid1) + -dō noun suffix

torpedolike, adjective
untorpedoed, adjective

8. See hero sandwich. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To torpedo
World English Dictionary
torpedo (tɔːˈpiːdəʊ)
n , pl -does
1.  a cylindrical self-propelled weapon carrying explosives that is launched from aircraft, ships, or submarines and follows an underwater path to hit its target
2.  obsolete a submarine mine
3.  (US), (Canadian) a firework containing gravel and a percussion cap that explodes when dashed against a hard surface
4.  (US), (Canadian) a detonator placed on a railway line as a danger signal
5.  any of various electric rays of the genus Torpedo
vb , -does, -does, -doing, -doed
6.  to hit (a ship, etc) with one or a number of torpedoes
7.  to render ineffective; destroy or wreck: to torpedo the administration's plan
[C16: from Latin: crampfish (whose electric discharges can cause numbness), from torpēre to be inactive; see torpid]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

c.1520, "electric ray," from L. torpedo, originally "numbness" (from the effect of being jolted by the ray's electric discharges), from torpere "be numb" (see torpor). The sense of "explosive device used to blow up enemy ships" is first recorded 1776, as a floating mine;
the self-propelled version is from 1860s. The verb is first recorded 1873; the fig. sense is attested from 1895.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
They can tap either bottom corner to fire a torpedo, and tilt their device to
Everyone in the business knows financial woes helped torpedo the first wave of
  atomic ambition four decades ago.
He was too pleased with himself to notice the shimmering torpedo emerge from
  the depths.
It's astonishing to see a film begin this brilliantly only to torpedo itself in
  its final hour.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature