Definitions

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

  • noun A cigar-shaped, self-propelled underwater projectile launched from a submarine, aircraft, or ship and designed to detonate on contact with or in the vicinity of a target.
  • noun Any of various submarine explosive devices, especially a submarine mine.
  • noun A small explosive placed on a railroad track that is fired by the weight of the train to sound a warning of an approaching hazard.
  • noun An explosive fired in an oil or gas well to begin or increase the flow.
  • noun A small firework consisting of gravel wrapped in tissue paper with a percussion cap that explodes when thrown against a hard surface.
  • noun Slang A professional assassin or thug.
  • transitive verb To attack, strike, or sink with a torpedo.
  • transitive verb To destroy decisively; wreck.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In sinking oil-wells in a petroleum district, to explode a charge of nitroglycerin at the bottom of (the drilled well) in order to shatter the rock and increase the flow of oil. Charges of from 20 to 80 quarts of the explosive are frequently used, and are contained in tin-plate cases, which are carefully lowered into position and exploded by the dropping of a heavy iron cylinder from above.
  • To attack with torpedoes; explode a torpedo under or in.
  • To use or explode torpedoes.
  • noun A fish of the genus Torpedo or family Torpedinidæ; an electric ray; a cramp-fish or numb-fish.
  • noun The typical genus of the family Torpedinidæ.
  • noun An explosive device belonging to either of two distinct classes of submarine destructive agents used in war—namely, torpedoes proper, which are propelled against an enemy's ship, and more or less stationary submarine mines, placed where a hostile vessel would be likely to come within range of their destructive effect. Of the first class, called also offensive torpedoes, there are three principal types:
  • noun Hence, some other explosive agent.
  • noun In medicine, narcosis; stupor.

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

  • transitive verb to destroy by, or subject to the action of, a torpedo.
  • transitive verb To destroy, cause to halt, or prevent from being accomplished; -- used esp. with reference to a plan or an enterprise, halted by some action before the plan is put into execution.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of elasmobranch fishes belonging to Torpedo and allied genera. They are related to the rays, but have the power of giving electrical shocks. Called also crampfish, and numbfish. See Electrical fish, under Electrical.
  • noun An engine or machine for destroying ships by blowing them up; a mine{4}.
  • noun obsolete A quantity of explosives anchored in a channel, beneath the water, or set adrift in a current, and so designed that they will explode when touched or approached by a vessel, or when an electric circuit is closed by an operator on shore; now called marine mine.
  • noun A kind of small submarine boat carrying an explosive charge, and projected from a ship against another ship at a distance, or made self-propelling, and otherwise automatic in its action against a distant ship.
  • noun (Mil.), obsolete A kind of shell or cartridge buried in earth, to be exploded by electricity or by stepping on it; now called land mine.
  • noun (Railroad) A kind of detonating cartridge or shell placed on a rail, and exploded when crushed under the locomotive wheels, -- used as an alarm signal.
  • noun An explosive cartridge or shell lowered or dropped into a bored oil well, and there exploded, to clear the well of obstructions or to open communication with a source of supply of oil.
  • noun A kind of firework in the form of a small ball, or pellet, which explodes when thrown upon a hard object.
  • noun Archaic Cant An automobile with a torpedo body.
  • noun a spindle-shaped, or fish-shaped, self-propelling submarine torpedo.
  • noun a canister or other vessel containing an explosive charge, and attached to the end of a long spar which projects from a ship or boat and is thrust against an enemy's ship, exploding the torpedo.
  • noun a vessel adapted for carrying, launching, operating, or otherwise making use of, torpedoes against an enemy's ship., especially, a small, fast boat with tubes for launching torpedoes.
  • noun nettings made of chains or bars, which can be suspended around a vessel and allowed to sink beneath the surface of the water, as a protection against torpedoes.

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

  • noun military A cylindrical explosive projectile that can travel underwater and is used as a weapon.
  • noun A fish having wings that generate electric current, a kind of electric ray.
  • noun regional A submarine sandwich.
  • noun archaic, military A naval mine.
  • noun obsolete, military An explosive device buried underground and set off remotely, to destroy fortifications, troops, or cavalry; a land torpedo
  • noun slang A professional gunman or assassin.
  • noun rail transport, US a small explosive device attached to the top of the rail to provide an audible warning when a train passes over it
  • verb To send a torpedo, usually from a submarine, that explodes below the waterline of the target ship.
  • verb To sink a ship with one of more torpedoes.
  • verb To undermine or destroy any endeavor with a stealthy, powerful attack.

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

  • noun an explosive device that is set off in an oil well (or a gas well) to start or to increase the flow of oil (or gas)
  • verb attack or hit with torpedoes
  • noun a professional killer who uses a gun
  • noun any sluggish bottom-dwelling ray of the order Torpediniformes having a rounded body and electric organs on each side of the head capable of emitting strong electric discharges
  • noun a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments); different names are used in different sections of the United States
  • noun a small firework that consists of a percussion cap and some gravel wrapped in paper; explodes when thrown forcefully against a hard surface
  • noun a small explosive device that is placed on a railroad track and fires when a train runs over it; the sound of the explosion warns the engineer of danger ahead

Etymologies

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

[Latin torpēdō, numbness, electric ray, from torpēre, to be stiff; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin torpēdō ("a torpedo fish"), from torpēdō ("numbness, torpidity, electric ray"), from torpeō ("I am stiff, numb, torpid; I am astounded; I am inactive") and -dō ("noun suffix").

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