[kan-uh n-bawl]

noun Also cannon ball.

a missile, usually round and made of iron or steel, designed to be fired from a cannon.
Tennis. a served ball that travels with great speed and describes little or no arc in flight.
anything that moves with great speed, as an express train.


made from a curled-up position with the arms pressing the knees against one's chest: a cannonball dive.
moving at great speed: a train known as a cannonball express.

Origin of cannonball

First recorded in 1655–65; cannon + ball1




JulianCannonball, 1928–75, American jazz saxophonist. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cannonball

Contemporary Examples of cannonball

Historical Examples of cannonball

  • "A doctor will be down on 'the Cannonball' about five o'clock," he added.

  • When the soldier is hit by a cannonball, rags are as becoming as purple.

  • His head was shot off by a cannonball just as his regiment was charging at the bridge.

    With Fire and Sword

    Samuel H. M. Byers

  • The Moravians held their immersion baptismal ceremonies in the Cannonball.

  • For the next three seconds you could have heard a cannonball drop.

    The Gold Bat

    P. G. Wodehouse

British Dictionary definitions for cannonball



a projectile fired from a cannon: usually a solid round metal shot
  1. a very fast low serve
  2. (as modifier)a cannonball serve
a jump into water by a person who has his arms tucked into the body to form a ball

verb (intr)

(often foll by along, etc) to rush along, like a cannonball
to execute a cannonball jump


very fast or powerful
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