[ buh-lis-tik ]


  1. of or relating to ballistics.
  2. having its motion determined or describable by the laws of exterior ballistics.


/ bəˈlɪstɪk /


  1. of or relating to ballistics
  2. 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
  3. (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

  4. go ballistic informal.
    to become enraged or frenziedly violent
  5. (of materials) strong enough to resist damage by projectile weapons

    ballistic nylon

“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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Derived Forms

  • balˈlistically, adverb
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Other Words From

  • bal·listi·cal·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of ballistic1

First recorded in 1765–75; ballist(a) + -ic
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. go ballistic, Informal. to become overwrought or irrational:

    went ballistic over the idea of a tax hike.

More idioms and phrases containing ballistic

see go ballistic .
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Example Sentences

There was one known albanerpetontid specimen that did have a long, thin bone preserved near its skull, and “I suspected for a long time that they had some sort of ballistic tongue mechanism,” she says.

Megan Squire, a professor at North Carolina’s Elon University, has monitored extremist-group members who lay ballistic vests flat and post pictures, like so-called unboxing videos popular on YouTube.

From Fortune

Meanwhile, air circulation and filtration won’t offer much protection from “ballistic” transmission—the ejection of droplets from someone who coughs, sneezes, or talks loudly.

Cameron said his team of investigators reconstructed the events that took place that night by reviewing ballistics evidence, 911 calls, police radio traffic, and interviews.

From Vox

According to the ballistics report, Mattingly was shot once by a 9 mm handgun, the gun that belonged to Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend.

From Vox

And the Republicans are going to go ballistic, especially on immigration.

Russia is also working on new a fleet of ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines to operate under the ice caps.

Our right wing went absolutely ballistic this past summer over 60,000 kids, who came here for reasons we helped create.

The latest showdown between the U.S. and Russia could go ballistic.

The S-300 deploys sophisticated radars, launch vehicles and missiles to shoot aircraft and even ballistic missiles out of the sky.

Meta took the ship into the stratosphere, in a high ballistic arc that ended at the islands.

From a ballistic standpoint this cartridge was virtually obsolete.

This causes a ballistic throw proportional to the induction through the bar at the moment when the two portions were separated.

Between the magnetizing coils is a small induction coil D, which is connected with a ballistic galvanometer.

The ends of this coil were carried to a distant part of the laboratory, and connected to a sensitive ballistic galvanometer.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




ballistaballistic camera