[ lawnch, lahnch ]
See synonyms for: launchlaunchedlaunching on

verb (used with object)
  1. to set (a boat or ship) in the water.

  2. to float (a newly constructed boat or ship) usually by allowing to slide down inclined ways into the water.

  1. to send forth, catapult, or release, as a self-propelled vehicle or weapon: Rockets were launched midway in the battle.The submarine launched its torpedoes and dived rapidly.

  2. to start (a person) on a course, career, etc.

  3. to set going; initiate: to launch a scheme.

  4. to throw; hurl: to launch a spear.

  5. to start (a new venture) or promote (a new product): They launched a new breakfast cereal.

  6. Computers. to start (a software program).

verb (used without object)
  1. to burst out or plunge boldly or directly into action, speech, etc.

  2. to start out or forth; push out or put forth on the water.

  1. the act of launching.

Origin of launch

First recorded in 1300–50; late Middle English launche, from Anglo-French lancher, from Late Latin lanceāre “to wield a lance”; see lance1

Other words for launch

Other words from launch

  • launch·a·ble, adjective
  • un·launched, adjective
  • well-launched, adjective

Words Nearby launch

Other definitions for launch (2 of 2)

[ lawnch, lahnch ]

  1. a heavy open or half-decked boat propelled by oars or by an engine.

  2. a large utility boat carried by a warship.

Origin of launch

First recorded in 1690–1700; from Spanish, Portuguese lancha, earlier Portuguese lanchara, first attested in 1515 in an account of boats encountered near the Strait of Malacca; further origin uncertain; perhaps from Malay lancharan, derivative of lanchar “swift,” unless modern Malay lancha is from Portuguese Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use launch in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for launch (1 of 2)


/ (lɔːntʃ) /

  1. to move (a vessel) into the water

  2. to move (a newly built vessel) into the water for the first time

  1. (tr)

    • to start off or set in motion: to launch a scheme

    • to put (a new product) on the market

  2. (tr) to propel with force

  3. to involve (oneself) totally and enthusiastically: to launch oneself into work

  4. (tr) to set (a missile, spacecraft, etc) into motion

  5. (tr) to catapult (an aircraft), as from the deck of an aircraft carrier

  6. (intr foll by into) to start talking or writing (about): he launched into a story

  7. (intr usually foll by out) to start (out) on a fresh course

  8. (intr usually foll by out) informal to spend a lot of money

  1. an act or instance of launching

Origin of launch

C14: from Anglo-French lancher, from Late Latin lanceāre to use a lance, hence, to set in motion. See lance

British Dictionary definitions for launch (2 of 2)


/ (lɔːntʃ) /

  1. a motor driven boat used chiefly as a transport boat

  2. the largest of the boats of a man-of-war

Origin of launch

C17: via Spanish lancha and Portuguese from Malay lancharan boat, from lanchar speed

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