[rik-uh-shey, rik-uh-shey or, esp. British, rik-uh-shet]


the motion of an object or a projectile in rebounding or deflecting one or more times from the surface over which it is passing or against which it hits a glancing blow.

verb (used without object), ric·o·cheted [rik-uh-sheyd, rik-uh-sheyd] /ˌrɪk əˈʃeɪd, ˈrɪk əˌʃeɪd/, ric·o·chet·ing [rik-uh-shey-ing, rik-uh-shey-ing] /ˌrɪk əˈʃeɪ ɪŋ, ˈrɪk əˌʃeɪ ɪŋ/ or (especially British) ric·o·chet·ted [rik-uh-shet-id] /ˈrɪk əˌʃɛt ɪd/, ric·o·chet·ting [rik-uh-shet-ing] /ˈrɪk əˌʃɛt ɪŋ/.

to move in this way, as a projectile.

Origin of ricochet

1760–70; < French; origin uncertain

Synonyms for ricochet

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ricocheted

deflect, return, recoil, backfire, boomerang

Examples from the Web for ricocheted

Contemporary Examples of ricocheted

  • It was an idea that ricocheted around liberal blogs and talk radio outlets.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Happy Huckabee Gets Mad

    David Freedlander

    May 6, 2014

  • The funny thing is, the shot that Google fired at Facebook seems to have ricocheted and hit the wrong target.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Google’s New Twitter Killer

    Dan Lyons

    July 27, 2011

  • William Styron was writing, James Baldwin was writing essays, and then this book just ricocheted around the country.

    The Daily Beast logo
    To Kill a Mockingbird Turns 50

    Tom Brokaw

    July 10, 2010

  • The stray bullet passed within three feet of Kennerly and ricocheted off a wall, slightly injuring a bystander.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Woman Who Tried to Kill Me

    Lloyd Grove

    May 29, 2009

Historical Examples of ricocheted

  • Gwynplaine, if we may coin the expression, ricocheted from one surprise to another.

  • It ricocheted three times with a twanging noise and split along the centre.

  • One of the tiny slugs stung through my calf and ricocheted down the passage.


    John Keith Laumer

  • Once, a stray shell burst several hundred yards away and a flying crumb of masonry fell in the nave and ricocheted a moment.

  • He is said to have been killed by the wind of a cannon ball as it ricocheted along the ground.

    Battle of Fort George

    Ernest Cruikshank

British Dictionary definitions for ricocheted


verb -chets, -cheting (-ˌʃeɪɪŋ), -cheted (-ˌʃeɪd), -chets, -chetting (-ˌʃɛtɪŋ) or -chetted (-ˌʃɛtɪd)

(intr) (esp of a bullet) to rebound from a surface or surfaces, usually with a characteristic whining or zipping sound


the motion or sound of a rebounding object, esp a bullet
an object, esp a bullet, that ricochets

Word Origin for ricochet

C18: from French, of unknown origin
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 ricocheted



1758, originally in a military sense, from French ricochet (n.) "the skipping of a shot, or of a flat stone on water" (see ricochet (n.). Related: Ricochetted; ricochetting.



1769, from ricochet (v.) or French ricochet "the skipping of a shot or of a flat stone on water," but in earliest French use (15c.) "verbal to-and-fro," and only in the phrase fable du ricochet, an entertainment in which the teller of a tale skillfully evades questions, and chanson du ricochet, a kind of repetitious song; of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper