from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A smokeless propellant made from nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine, developed in the late 19th century.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A smokeless powder containing equal parts of soluble nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A smokeless powder containing a large percentage of nitroglycerin: similar to cordite.

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

  • n. an explosive (trade name Ballistite) that burns with relatively little smoke; contains pyrocellulose and is used as a propellant


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • ~ -- Nobel's powder, known as ballistite, originally consisted of a camphorated blasting gelatine, and was made of 10 parts of camphor in

    Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise

  • In 1875 Nobel created blasting gelatin, a colloidal suspension of nitrocellulose in glycerin, and in 1887 ballistite, a nearly smokeless powder especially suitable for propelling military projectiles.

    Nobel, Alfred Bernhard

  • The leading representatives of this class of propulsive explosives, or 'smokeless powders' are ballistite and cordite, the technology of which will be found fully discussed in special manuals of the subject.

    Researches on Cellulose 1895-1900

  • Smokeless powders came into use, the explosive properties of picric acid were discovered, and melanite, ballistite, and cordite appeared in the last quarter of the century, so that by 1890 nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin-base powders had generally replaced black powder as a propellant.

    Artillery Through the Ages A Short Illustrated History of Cannon, Emphasizing Types Used in America

  • In the case of cordite, as also with ballistite, a considerable quantity of aqueous vapour has to be added to the permanent gases formed.

    Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise

  • As might perhaps be anticipated from the higher heat of ballistite, its erosive power is slightly greater than that of cordite, while the erosive power of cordite is again slightly greater than that of brown prismatic.

    Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise

  • The ballistite made in Germany contained more nitro-cellulose, and the finished powder was coated with graphite.

    Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise

  • ~ -- In the case of ballistite the treatment is the same, except that when it is in a very finely granulated condition it need not be cut up.

    Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise

  • A gramme of ballistite generates 615 c.c. of permanent gases, and gives rise to 1,365 grm. units of heat.

    Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise

  • Nitro-glycerine is also largely used in the manufacture of smokeless powders, such as cordite, ballistite, and several others.

    Nitro-Explosives: A Practical Treatise


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  • This is what you did with a good bullet: holding the shell case in one hand, you stuck the projectile into a keyhole, twisted it, and pulled out the case, adding it to your collection. The gunpowder was emptied out (sometimes there were thin strips of ballistite) and deposited in serpentine trails that were set alight.

    --Umberto Eco, 1988, Foucault's Pendulum, p. 115

    September 29, 2008