noun, plural tor·pe·does.

verb (used with object), tor·pe·doed, tor·pe·do·ing.

verb (used without object), tor·pe·doed, tor·pe·do·ing.

to attack, damage, or sink a ship with torpedoes.

Origin of torpedo

1510–20; < Latin torpēdō numbness, torpidity, electric ray, equivalent to torpē(re) to be stiff (see torpid1) + -dō noun suffix
Related formstor·pe·do·like, adjectiveun·tor·pe·doed, adjective

Regional variation note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for torpedo

Contemporary Examples of torpedo

Historical Examples of torpedo

British Dictionary definitions for torpedo


noun plural -does

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

verb -does, -doing or -doed (tr)

to hit (a ship, etc) with one or a number of torpedoes
to render ineffective; destroy or wreckto torpedo the administration's plan
Derived Formstorpedo-like, adjective

Word Origin for torpedo

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

1520s, "electric ray," from Latin torpedo, originally "numbness" (from the effect of being jolted by the ray's electric discharges), from torpere "be numb" (see torpor). The sense of "explosive device used to blow up enemy ships" is first recorded 1776, as a floating mine; the self-propelled version is from 1860s.


1873, from torpedo (n.). Figurative sense attested from 1895. Related: Torpedoed; torpedoing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper