Definition of slingshot in US English:



  • 1North American A forked stick, to which an elastic strap (or a pair of elastic bands connected by a small sling) is fastened to the two prongs, typically used for shooting small stones.

    British term slingshot
    • ‘One of the highlights of the festival was the traditional slingshot shooting competition.’
    • ‘Both boys have slingshots for weapons, which they fashioned from belts and string.’
    • ‘Mr McGrath says the rocks thrown at the beginning of the attack seemed to have been lobbed by hand, but the one that hit him appeared to have been fired from a slingshot.’
    • ‘Some of those arrested were in possession of weapons, including slingshots, knives, gas cans and stones.’
    • ‘He pulled out his slingshot and loaded it with a crab apple, and took aim at Parsons' broad back.’
    • ‘Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot.’
    • ‘They offer youth, adult and competitive air rifles, air pistols, accessories, slingshots and Winchester air rifles.’
    • ‘Around lay many weapons, everything from slingshots to swords.’
    • ‘I've hunted successfully with ‘stick’ bows, blowguns, boomerangs, and slingshots.’
    • ‘The handful of remaining officers were vastly outnumbered by fighters wielding machetes, swords, slingshots, bows and arrows.’
    • ‘Reaching to his belt, Hawk pulled out a slingshot and some flat river pebbles from a pouch.’
    • ‘Children specialize in scaring birds from cornfields with slingshots, fetching water, and carrying a hot lunch from home to their fathers and brothers in the field.’
    • ‘In response, Savage and her team started a program where children could trade in their slingshots for a stuffed animal of the cottontop tamarin.’
    • ‘Clearly warfare conducted through massive land armies, battering rams, javelins and slingshots has little technically in common with warfare today.’
    • ‘They should even face strict controls on slingshots, air pistols, and lawn darts, too.’
    • ‘Boys are skillful with slingshots and blowguns in hunting small birds.’
    • ‘Traditional games and competitions in this year's event will include water boxing, a slingshot contest, sack races and a form of snakes and ladders.’
    • ‘In the worst case, protesters on April 10 targeted police with gas bombs and slingshots, leading to clashes which left more than 140 injured.’
    • ‘A villager who has hitch-hiked a lift with us whips out his slingshot, aiming for the kites.’
    • ‘Although my ‘dad’ doesn't hunt anymore, he still has the weaponry, namely, a slingshot.’
    1. 1.1 A shot from a slingshot.
      ‘you'll get whizzed out the window like a slingshot’
      • ‘The complex would offer visitors the chance to slide down the Tower of Babel before climbing aboard Noah's Ark, parting the Red Sea and felling Goliath with a laser-guided slingshot.’
      • ‘And every time, as the Romans fell back on the column, the Jews returned to resume the barrage of javelins and slingshot.’
      • ‘A near-capacity 8,500 supporters gathered to see David aim his slingshots at Goliath.’
  • 2often as modifier The effect of the gravitational pull of a celestial object in accelerating and changing the course of another object or a spacecraft.

    ‘stars passing near a black hole might be ejected by a gravitational slingshot effect’
    • ‘This slingshot trajectory requires the probe to be launched precisely when the planets are in an exact alignment, which if missed would not occur for another 600 years.’
    • ‘With a slingshot gravity assist from Jupiter, the probe could get to our littlest, strangest planet in 15 years.’
    • ‘Perhaps fresh calculations are in order, to consider possibilities other than those provided by a Mars / Jupiter slingshot.’
    • ‘They are only one unpredictable gravitational slingshot away from a collision course.’
    • ‘Voyager II was able to exploit its slingshot orbit and visit both Uranus and Neptune, thereby fulfilling the original four-planet mission envisaged by the mission designers all those years ago.’
    • ‘It uses a combination of Lorentz Force turning and gravitational slingshot (if feasible) to alter its trajectory so that it passes by a number of stars in succession, finally returning to Earth to begin the cycle again.’
    • ‘If you take a stronger gravity source the curve becomes greater until at some point you get a slingshot effect, where the moving object approaches, bends round the planet and shoots off into space again.’
    • ‘At the end of 1990, the speeding Galileo carried out another slingshot maneuver, this time involving the Earth, and entered an orbit that will bring it back for a second slingshot past the Earth some two years later.’
    • ‘Of particular interest to me was his discussion of the chaotic motion of the planetary orbits and of the slingshot effect that can give spacecraft a planetary boost.’
    • ‘Another study, made early in 2003, suggested that a close encounter between the second and third star, acting as a kind of gravitational slingshot, had hurled the third star out of the system.’
    • ‘They have to make use of planetary alignments, or ‘launch windows’, to provide an extra gravitational slingshot effect, helping to catapult them further out into space.’
    • ‘On each of these three fly-bys, the spacecraft picked up additional speed from the planet in a sort of slingshot fashion, so that by the end of this initial maneuver it had enough speed to make it to Jupiter in free flight.’


  • Forcefully accelerate through the effect of gravity.

    no object ‘the car would hit the first dip, then slingshot off the second rise’
    with object ‘Jupiter's gravity slingshots the fragments toward Earth’
    • ‘One advanced variation has the toes dragged across the floor to slingshot off the floor at the end for a very different angle of delivery, where the first variations are thrust kicks out parallel to the floor.’
    • ‘You'll practice rigging, flying on land, launching in Pamlico Sound, and bailing out when a sudden gust slingshots you toward a pier.’
    • ‘If the second car tries to slingshot alone in this situation, he often cannot get around the first - as soon as the second swings out to race side by side, the third can catch up, tuck behind the first, and re-establish the draft line.’
    • ‘It wasn't the smartest move to slingshot around a black hole, although it had been done countless times before.’
    • ‘If we extend the path of travel by about five thousand kilometers and continue on double light, not triple, the gravity will help slingshot us around.’
    • ‘On the final turn of the race, JJ took the high-line and slingshotted out of Turn 4.’
    • ‘If they could launch a manned rocket that simply slingshotted around the moon and back, they could claim that at least in some pathetic way that they beat the Americans.’
    • ‘Launch must happen by 2006 or Jupiter will no longer be in position to slingshot the craft towards Pluto with a gravity assist, and the trip to Pluto will take years longer.’
    • ‘We'll accelerate until we're about half a light second from the planet, then we'll cut engines and slingshot around for another boost in speed.’
    • ‘For the person in the rear, there is a vacuum effect that lets you momentarily go faster than your gearing allows, making it possible to slingshot past the person in front.’