[pruh-jek-til, -tahyl]


an object fired from a gun with an explosive propelling charge, such as a bullet, shell, rocket, or grenade.
a body projected or impelled forward, as through the air.


impelling or driving forward, as a force.
caused by impulse, as motion.
capable of being impelled forward, as a missile.
Zoology. protrusile, as the jaws of a fish.

Origin of projectile

1655–65; < New Latin, neuter of prōjectilis (adj.) projecting. See project, -ile Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for projectile

rocket, missile, bullet, dart, arrow, torpedo, shell, bomb, shaft, shot, spear, impelling

Examples from the Web for projectile

Historical Examples of projectile

  • There was a force back of what he said like the force back of the projectile.

    David Dunne

    Belle Kanaris Maniates

  • Then he picked up another and followed through with a second projectile.

    Islands of Space

    John W Campbell

  • The Projectile Company has multiplied its 1913 profit thirteen times over!

    The World in Chains

    John Mavrogordato

  • The great weight of its projectile gave the double cannon its name.

  • Yet the only basic difference is the kind of energy that sends the projectile on its way.

British Dictionary definitions for projectile



an object or body thrown forwards
any self-propelling missile, esp one powered by a rocket or the rocket itself
any object that can be fired from a gun, such as a bullet or shell


capable of being or designed to be hurled forwards
projecting or thrusting forwards
zoology another word for protrusile

Word Origin for projectile

C17: from New Latin prōjectilis jutting forwards
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 projectile

1660s, from Modern Latin projectilis, from Latin proiectus, past participle of proicere (see project (n.)). Projectile vomiting attested from 1985.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper