from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A meteoric flash or flare created when a meteoroid explodes or vaporizes as it passes through Earth's atmosphere.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A brilliant meteor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A kind of meteor; a bolis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any extraterrestrial body that collides with Earth
  • noun An extremely bright meteor
  • noun A fireball

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

  • noun an especially luminous meteor (sometimes exploding)


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

[French, from Latin bolis, bolid-, kind of meteor, from Greek, missile, flash (of lightning), from ballein, to throw; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French bolide, from Latin bolis.



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  • bolide ball of fire (meteor)

    January 30, 2007

  • The word bolide comes from the Greek βολις, (bolis) which can mean a missile or to flash. The IAU has no official definition of bolide and generally considers the term synonymous with fireball. The term is more often used among geologists than astronomers where it means a very large impactor. For example, the USGS uses the term to mean a generic large crater forming projectile "to imply that we do not know the precise nature of the impacting body ... whether it is a rocky or metallic asteroid, or an icy comet, for example". Astronomers tend to use the term to mean an exceptionally bright fireball, particularly one that explodes (sometimes called a detonating fireball).


    February 24, 2008

  • She thought she could star if she tried

    And see her name shining worldwide

    But her star, though bright

    Only flickered a night

    A striking but short-lived bolide.

    May 30, 2019