Definition of volley in US English:



  • 1A number of bullets, arrows, or other projectiles discharged at one time.

    ‘the infantry let off a couple of volleys’
    • ‘Police responded by firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets.’
    • ‘This turned out to be true, but 10,000 were murdered with volleys of arrows.’
    • ‘He was taking cover behind the ruined console, so he could avoid their first volley of bullets.’
    • ‘Almost immediately, a volley of arrows sailed past her, shredding leaves and diving into the fertile soil.’
    • ‘They ambushed them with a volley of missiles, taking all five out at the same time.’
    • ‘Behind the battle line, the lieutenant of the youth's company had stopped a man who had fled after the first volley of bullets.’
    • ‘As he was laid to rest, three Royal Marines fired a three-shot volley and a bugler sounded the Last Post.’
    • ‘Normal war tactics involved massed ranks of lightly armed or armoured archers firing large volleys of arrows into formations of targets.’
    • ‘They let off a volley of flaming arrows, which light up the night like mad fireflies on a rampage.’
    • ‘After the banner was marched into position on the parade ground, the four full guards on parade fired volleys in the ripple-effect drill movement known as Fieu de Joie or Joy of Sound.’
    • ‘A volley of bullets ripped through the air and ricocheted into the hall.’
    • ‘A volley of bullets ricocheted off the armoured walker.’
    • ‘A precision attack system would not only reduce the number of volleys, it would also reduce the number of platforms needed to attack a target.’
    • ‘Royal Marines fired three volleys over the grave at the interment.’
    • ‘The French cavalry charged into this funnel, hampered by volleys of arrows and by the wet ground; the rear lines piled into the front.’
    • ‘The archers obeyed and sent a volley of arrows onto the heads of the enemy.’
    • ‘During the ceremony, the Army, RAAF and Indonesian Defence Force provided honour guards and members of Australia's Federation Guard fired volleys over the graves.’
    • ‘Twenty officers mounted on horses quickly advanced, swinging batons, flanked by police on foot who fired concussion grenades and volleys of rubber bullets.’
    • ‘The frightened, penned-in cops responded with volleys of rubber bullets, tear gas and sometimes water cannons.’
    • ‘I looked to see a volley of arrows being launched at us.’
    barrage, cannonade, battery, blast, bombardment, broadside, salvo, fusillade
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    1. 1.1 A series of utterances directed at someone in quick succession.
      ‘he unleashed a volley of angry questions’
      • ‘My poor buddy didn't know what she had done wrong and could only stare in bewilderment at the volley of words being directed at her.’
      • ‘Fifteen minutes into the usual volley of questions and answers, he suddenly stops, looks appalled and clasps a hand to his face.’
      • ‘After talking about four types of venomous snakes in the country, he faced a volley of questions from child participants.’
      • ‘Drunken hecklers were a different matter: the only way to handle them was to unleash a volley of abuse, humbling them with a few crushing put-downs.’
      • ‘The actor faces a volley of questions relating to the accusation that the film had hurt the sentiments of the physically challenged.’
      • ‘But on Wednesday, facing a volley of questions from his fans from different parts of Tamil Nadu might not have been that easy.’
      • ‘Maybe lesser mortals would have been put off by the volley of abuse he directed at her but in the end she triumphed, aided and abetted by passers by and stallholders.’
      • ‘They oozed confidence and nothing could deter them - not even the volley of questions posed by judges.’
      • ‘For an agonizing 20 minutes, he politely fielded a volley of impertinent questions.’
      • ‘After the screening, he answered a volley of questions from the audience - both children and adults.’
      • ‘Enthusiasm filled the place as students fired a volley of questions, which the seasoned star answered with poise and complete ease.’
      • ‘Armed with their knowledge, the children fired a volley of questions at her.’
      • ‘It was then that the volley of questions started.’
      succession, series, string, chain
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    2. 1.2Tennis An exchange of shots.
      • ‘He was spotted sweating under a barrage of volleys on a tennis court.’
      • ‘After a few rallies and volleys, the winning shot came from the man.’
      • ‘On the one hand, it is a marvel of filmic compression, deftly showing the tensions, alignments and rivalries between these four characters in just a few volleys of a tennis ball across a court.’
  • 2(in sports, especially tennis or soccer) a strike or kick of the ball made before it touches the ground.

    • ‘The challenges included running, catching, balancing tennis balls on rackets and practising ground strokes and volleys.’
    • ‘He has won each of his first eight service points with a mixture of aces, volleys and ground strokes.’
    • ‘The Liverpool striker scored with a volley that took the breath away.’
    • ‘The striker shifted the ball from his right to left foot and unleashed a volley into the corner of the net, his 20th goal of the season.’
    • ‘Lee was obviously the best player, executing his shots, serves and volleys with the greatest of ease.’


[with object]
  • 1(in sports, especially tennis or soccer) strike or kick (the ball) before it touches the ground.

    ‘she volleyed the ball home’
    no object ‘he took his chance well, volleying into the top corner from 25 yards’
    • ‘Instead of volleying the ball he would score goals in training with his knees.’
    • ‘Once you have mastered this routine, work on repeating the drill but volley each ball.’
    • ‘She volleyed the ball over to Evelyn's half of the court.’
    • ‘He chipped the ball over the head of a defender before volleying the ball to the back of the net from inside the penalty area.’
    • ‘But for once the luck is with him - he volleys the rebound spectacularly into the net.’
    1. 1.1 Score (a goal) with a volley.
      • ‘Deep into injury time, he flicked the ball on for his teammate to volley the equaliser from close range.’
      • ‘He volleyed home a spectacular goal.’
      • ‘He volleyed an exquisite goal to climax a compelling performance.’
      • ‘He volleyed home goal number 3 just before the break.’
      • ‘He volleyed the winning goal just before half time.’
    2. 1.2no object (in tennis and similar games) play a pregame point, sometimes in order to determine who will serve first.
      • ‘We volleyed for serve, which Noah and I won; then we swept them and scored 16 points in a row before they quit.’
    3. 1.3 Utter or discharge in quick succession.
      ‘the dog was volleying joyful barks’
      • ‘Both sides sung their national anthems with not a hint of booing, and spent most of the game indulging in volleying songs back and forth.’
      • ‘Before she could volley back a smart reply, he offered her his arm.’


Late 16th century: from French volée, based on Latin volare ‘to fly’.