Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An object or weapon that is fired, thrown, dropped, or otherwise projected at a target; a projectile.
  • n. A guided missile.
  • n. A ballistic missile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An object intended to be launched into the air at a target.
  • n. A self-propelled projectile whose trajectory can be adjusted after having been launched.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being thrown; adapted for hurling or to be projected from the hand, or from any instrument or engine{2}, so as to strike an object at a distance.
  • n. A weapon thrown or projected or intended to be projected, as a lance, an arrow, or a bullet.
  • n. A rocket-propelled device designed to fly through the air and deliver a warhead of explosive materials to a target.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of being thrown; adapted to be hurled by the hand, or discharged from a weapon, as from a sling, bow, or gun, or from a military engine.
  • n. Anything thrown for the purpose of hitting something; specifically, a weapon or projectile designed for throwing or discharging, as a lance, an arrow, a bullet, or a cannon-ball.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a weapon that is forcibly thrown or projected at a targets but is not self-propelled
  • n. a rocket carrying a warhead of conventional or nuclear explosives; may be ballistic or directed by remote control

Etymologies

Latin, from neuter of missilis, able to be thrown, from missus, past participle of mittere, to let go, throw.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin missilis ("that may be thrown"), neuter missile ("a weapon to be thrown, a javelin"), in plural missilia ("presents thrown among the people by the emperors"), from mittere ("to send"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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