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[buh-lis-tik] /bəˈlɪs tɪk/
of or relating to ballistics.
having its motion determined or describable by the laws of exterior ballistics.
go ballistic, Informal. to become overwrought or irrational:
went ballistic over the idea of a tax hike.
Origin of ballistic
First recorded in 1765-75; ballist(a) + -ic
Related forms
ballistically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for go ballistic


of or relating to ballistics
denoting or relating to the flight of projectiles after power has been cut off, moving under their own momentum and the external forces of gravity and air resistance
(of a measurement or measuring instrument) depending on a brief impulse or current that causes a movement related to the quantity to be measured: a ballistic pendulum
(informal) go ballistic, to become enraged or frenziedly violent
(of materials) strong enough to resist damage by projectile weapons: ballistic nylon
Derived Forms
ballistically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for go ballistic



1775, "pertaining to thrown objects," ultimately from Greek ballein "to throw" (see ballistics). Of rockets or missiles (ones that are guided while under propulsion, but fall freely), from 1949. Ballistic missile first attested 1954; they attain extreme heights, hence figurative expression go ballistic (1981) "become irrationally angry."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for go ballistic

go ballistic

verb phrase

To become very angry and irrational; blow up, hit the ceiling: Either way, some constituents will go allisti/ Henry George would go allisti over the idea of reopening the capital gains tax break for real estate

[mid-1980s+; fr the extreme height attained by a ballistic missile, and the idea that upward motion is associated with anger]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with go ballistic

go ballistic

Become extremely upset or angry, as in Dad will go ballistic when he sees you dented the new car. This expression, a variation on go berserk, originally alluded to a guided missile going out of control. [ ; mid-1980s ]


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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