One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Relating to projectiles or their flight.
- ‘This complete loss of memory after 0.1 ps reduces the amount of ballistic motion of atoms inside a void.’
- ‘This application will also calculate ballistic coefficient and maximum point blank range.’
- ‘The vehicle system is a turreted, armored, all-wheel drive vehicle that provides increased ballistic and land mine protection.’
- ‘It allows us to play what if games with internal ballistic calculations for pressure and velocity.’
- ‘Mounted onto a stock with the addition of a winch, ratchet apparatus, and trigger mechanism, much further distances and much greater ballistic forces were achieved.’
2Moving under the force of gravity only.
- ‘Most of a spacecraft's flight is ballistic, that is, it is not powered but is pulled by gravity, with engines needed for course corrections.’
- ‘Mortars are ballistic weapons that have projectile trajectories undistorted by rocket engine or guidance system.’
- ‘At that point the fuel to the rocket was cut off and the missile coasted along its ballistic trajectory to the target.’
- ‘Adversaries could also launch both theater ballistic and cruise missiles to arrive simultaneously at the designated target.’
- ‘Counterproliferation operations will need to focus on ballistic and cruise missiles and on conventional WMDs.’
informal Fly into a rage.
- ‘One day, George found the fake test papers in a desk drawer and went ballistic.’
- ‘An hour later, Lindsay arrived at the bash where Jessica allegedly went ballistic and lunged at Lohan before security pulled them apart’
- ‘I missed a header from about 25 yards in a goalless draw at Bristol City and Megson went ballistic.’
- ‘Environmental activists went ballistic - even more so than usual.’
- ‘Carole went ballistic and put her fist through one of the walls.’
- ‘When I offered to trace one person's family for him, he went ballistic and shook his head vigorously.’
- ‘A platoon of sci-fi marines are dropped into hostile territory, seething with aliens, and they go ballistic.’
- ‘He brought everything but the Colman's mustard, and I went ballistic.’
- ‘I went ballistic and fired off a letter demanding a retraction of the fees.’
- ‘Within two or three days the media just went ballistic, so it worked in my favour.’
Late 18th century: from ballista + -ic.
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