Definition of missile in English:



  • 1An object which is forcibly propelled at a target, either by hand or from a mechanical weapon.

    ‘one of the players was hit on the head by a missile thrown by a spectator’
    • ‘Two Catholic women were injured when they were struck on the head by missiles thrown by the protestors.’
    • ‘They will face charges of obscene language, throwing missiles and resisting arrest.’
    • ‘The man's companions threw flasks and other missiles to ward it off.’
    • ‘The police were made aware of the complaints at half-time, and one Hull fan was arrested for throwing a missile.’
    • ‘The group then ran off towards Sholing where they began a wrecking spree by throwing more missiles at homes and vehicles.’
    • ‘Gangs of angry young people hurled all kinds of missiles at the police.’
    • ‘He had pleaded guilty to throwing missiles at police during a disturbance following a football match last June.’
    • ‘The rest involved equipment vandalism and missiles thrown at trains.’
    • ‘Leeds players also complained about being hit by missiles thrown from the crowd.’
    • ‘As Tuesday's game went on, sections of the crowd vented their frustration by throwing missiles on to the pitch.’
    • ‘They say it is only a matter of time before a firefighter is seriously hurt by a missile thrown at crews or a fire engine.’
    • ‘Windscreens have been smashed and paintwork scratched, and missiles have been thrown at parked cars.’
    • ‘People were starting to move off when missiles were thrown over the wall.’
    • ‘Ships were roped together in lines to face an enemy fleet and showers of arrows and missiles would have been exchanged.’
    • ‘The riot squad and two water cannons were deployed after missiles were thrown.’
    • ‘Merseyside Police said bottles, cans and other missiles were thrown into the crowd and at police.’
    • ‘In Princes Street Gardens, police drew their batons and forced back people who were throwing missiles.’
    • ‘Youths have been using pebbles from the surface as missiles to throw at residents' windows.’
    • ‘The news on page five that mobs were actually throwing missiles at Portuguese soccer fans is horrifying.’
    • ‘Bottles and other missiles were thrown in spite of a huge police presence.’
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    1. 1.1A weapon that is self-propelled or directed by remote control, carrying conventional or nuclear explosive.
      ‘the plane disintegrated after being hit by a missile launched from the ground’
      ‘the USAF approach uses small missiles fired from conventional fighter aircraft’
      • ‘U.S. navy officials said about 320 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired by U.S. warships deployed in the region.’
      • ‘The missile carries a 1,000 lb warhead with a blast radius of several hundred metres.’
      • ‘Suddenly a jet came within her sight, and it fired a series of missiles in her direction.’
      • ‘He can sell missiles and even nuclear material to other dubious states.’
      • ‘Both of the approaching jets fired missiles at us, the warheads seeking in on us from different directions.’
      • ‘Avenger carries eight Stinger missiles in two launch pods.’
      • ‘Eventually a U.S. built patriot missile destroyed at least one Iraqi rocket.’
      • ‘Baghdad was developing missiles capable of delivering weapons payloads, including biological agents, to other nations.’
      • ‘Now, according to the coalition, it was apparently hit by a missile.’
      • ‘Basing US bombers and missiles on British soil certainly made Britain a target in the event of a nuclear war.’
      • ‘Tor M1 missiles are short-range, surface-to-air missiles already used by several other armed forces, including China.’
      • ‘They stay above 5,000 feet, to avoid the threat of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and small arms fire.’
      • ‘The U.S. is also considering arming these missiles with nuclear warheads.’
      • ‘Here at last was a set of fires as massive and extensive as any that might be generated by nuclear missiles.’
      • ‘We have seen on all our TVs missiles hitting other missiles and destroying them.’
      • ‘That could entail the deployment of ships carrying the interceptor missiles in the Sea of Japan.’
      • ‘They also managed to acquire an old nuclear missile and the means to launch it.’
      • ‘We don't have Scud missiles because all the Scud missiles were destroyed.’
      • ‘The missile flew for several minutes but an internal defect led to a self-destruct.’
      • ‘While fighting in Afghanistan the helicopter he and his squad were in was shot down by a Stinger missile.’
      explosive, incendiary device, incendiary, device
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Early 17th century (as an adjective in the sense ‘suitable for throwing (at a target’)): from Latin missile, neuter (used as a noun) of missilis, from miss- sent, from the verb mittere.