One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A French-made guided anti-ship missile.
- ‘The Argentinians had no previous experience with antiship missiles, and the Exocet was a complicated and cranky weapon.’
- ‘The company names its fireworks after missiles, including the Exocet and Tomahawk.’
- ‘Likewise, the French enjoyed an excellent relationship with Iraq, with Mirage fighters, Exocets, surface-to-air, and anti-tank missiles following behind the nuclear plant in 1981-9.’
1970s: from French, literally ‘flying fish’, via Latin from Greek ekōkoitos ‘fish that comes up on the beach’ (literally ‘out of bed’).
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