[ buh-lis-tiks ]
/ bəˈlɪs tɪks /

noun (usually used with a singular verb)

the science or study of the motion of projectiles, as bullets, shells, or bombs.
the art or science of designing projectiles for maximum flight performance.

Origin of ballistics

First recorded in 1745–55; see origin at ballistic, -ics
Related formsbal·lis·ti·cian [bal-uh-stish-uh n] /ˌbæl əˈstɪʃ ən/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ballistics

British Dictionary definitions for ballistics


/ (bəˈlɪstɪks) /


(functioning as singular) the study of the flight dynamics of projectiles, either through the interaction of the forces of propulsion, the aerodynamics of the projectile, atmospheric resistance, and gravity (exterior ballistics), or through these forces along with the means of propulsion, and the design of the propelling weapon and projectile (interior ballistics)
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

Word Origin and History for ballistics



1753, "art of throwing; science of projectiles," with -ics + Latin ballista "ancient military machine for hurling stones," from Greek ballistes, from ballein "to throw, to throw so as to hit," also in a looser sense, "to put, place, lay;" from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach," in extended senses "to pierce" (cf. Sanskrit apa-gurya "swinging," balbaliti "whirls, twirls;" Greek bole "a throw, beam, ray," belemnon "dart, javelin," belone "needle"). Here, too, probably belongs Greek ballizein "to dance," literally "to throw one's body," ancient Greek dancing being highly athletic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for ballistics


[ bə-lĭstĭks ]

The scientific study of the characteristics of projectiles, such as bullets or missiles, and the way they move in flight.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.