View synonyms for torpedo


[ tawr-pee-doh ]


, plural tor·pe·does.
  1. a self-propelled, cigar-shaped missile containing explosives and often equipped with a homing device, launched from a submarine or other warship, for destroying surface vessels or other submarines.
  2. any of various submarine explosive devices for destroying hostile ships, as a mine.
  3. a cartridge of gunpowder, dynamite, or the like, exploded in an oil well to facilitate the extraction of oil from the well.
  4. a detonating device fastened to the top of a rail so as to be exploded by the pressure of a locomotive or car, thus giving an audible signal to members of a train crew.
  5. any of various other explosive devices, as a firework that consists of an explosive wrapped up with gravel in a piece of tissue paper and that detonates when thrown forcibly on the ground or against a hard surface.
  6. Also called torpedo fish. an electric ray, especially Torpedo nobiliana, of the Atlantic Ocean.
  7. an electric catfish, Malapterurus electricus, inhabiting waters of tropical central Africa and the Nile valley.
  8. Informal. a hero sandwich.
  9. Slang. a gangster hired as a murderer.

verb (used with object)

, tor·pe·doed, tor·pe·do·ing.
  1. to attack, hit, damage, or destroy with torpedoes.
  2. to explode a torpedo in (an oil well) to facilitate the extraction of oil.
  3. to undermine, ruin, or destroy:

    He torpedoed our plans.

verb (used without object)

, tor·pe·doed, tor·pe·do·ing.
  1. to attack, damage, or sink a ship with torpedoes.


/ tɔːˈpiːdəʊ /


  1. a cylindrical self-propelled weapon carrying explosives that is launched from aircraft, ships, or submarines and follows an underwater path to hit its target
  2. obsolete.
    a submarine mine
  3. a firework containing gravel and a percussion cap that explodes when dashed against a hard surface
  4. a detonator placed on a railway line as a danger signal
  5. any of various electric rays of the genus Torpedo


  1. to hit (a ship, etc) with one or a number of torpedoes
  2. to render ineffective; destroy or wreck

    to torpedo the administration's plan

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Derived Forms

  • torˈpedo-ˌlike, adjective

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Other Words From

  • tor·pedo·like adjective
  • untor·pedoed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of torpedo1

1510–20; < Latin torpēdō numbness, torpidity, electric ray, equivalent to torpē ( re ) to be stiff ( torpid 1 ) + -dō noun suffix

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Word History and Origins

Origin of torpedo1

C16: from Latin: crampfish (whose electric discharges can cause numbness), from torpēre to be inactive; see torpid

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Example Sentences

Someday in the future, the latest anti-submarine weapon could arrive in the form of a torpedo deployed from a large drone.

With a vertical leap exceeding 40 inches, a Dressel Start is not unlike a torpedo launch.

Using torpedo technology, they were used to quickly transport people and supplies.

Victor Vescovo, also saw two large gun turrets, twin torpedo racks and multiple gun mounts.

When he found out about the potential ban, it was a torpedo to his plans.

The sub was so quiet, that it consistently managed to get within easy torpedo range.

This device, looking rather like a bloated torpedo, is equipped with lights and cameras that scan the seabed for debris.

Will sanctions already in effect continue to torpedo the Iranian economy, or will sanctions begin to crumble?

They torpedo the Affordable Care Act, and I believe we will now have single payer in this country within the next 15 years.

During a night operation in the Solomon Islands in 1943, the patrol torpedo boat he commanded was rammed by a Japanese destroyer.

The bear laughed and joined his companion, and the torpedo thundered away.

For he knew who had triggered those three today, who the Chi torpedo the cops wanted was.

The Maine was sunk by a torpedo, discharged at close quarters underneath her magazine.

There isn't a single square yard of that whole belt but is equipped with a torpedo.

He now tried to fasten the torpedo to the bottom, but the screw struck an iron bar and would not go in.


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torosetorpedo boat