- 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.
- any of various submarine explosive devices for destroying hostile ships, as a mine.
- a cartridge of gunpowder, dynamite, or the like, exploded in an oil well to facilitate the extraction of oil from the well.
- 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.
- 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.
- Also called torpedo fish. an electric ray, especially Torpedo nobiliana, of the Atlantic Ocean.
- an electric catfish, Malapterurus electricus, inhabiting waters of tropical central Africa and the Nile valley.
- Informal. a hero sandwich.
- Slang. a gangster hired as a murderer.
- to attack, hit, damage, or destroy with torpedoes.
- to explode a torpedo in (an oil well) to facilitate the extraction of oil.
- to undermine, ruin, or destroy: He torpedoed our plans.
- to attack, damage, or sink a ship with torpedoes.
Origin of torpedo
Regional variation note
Related Words for torpedoedinvalidate, annul, veto, void, undo, abolish, restrict, quash, offset, negate, abrogate, repeal, rescind, torpedo, annihilate, expunge, exterminate, ravage, erase, eliminate
Examples from the Web for torpedoed
Contemporary Examples of torpedoed
The result was overly ambitious sequences that were torpedoed by Syfy CGI.How ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Finally Found Its Way
May 14, 2014
In March 2010 a North Korean submarine, without cause, torpedoed the Cheonan, a South Korean frigate.North Korea Threatens War, and South Korea Wants Revenge
Gordon G. Chang
April 11, 2013
Vice President Biden torpedoed the White House plan to endorse gay marriage before the Democratic convention.How President Obama, in Six Days, Decided to Come Out for Gay Marriage
May 10, 2012
Twenty-three years ago, when Hart's presidential ambitions were torpedoed by the Donna Rice affair, his wife stayed with him.The End of Male Privilege: Women Fed Up With Bad Behavior
May 23, 2011
Daschle has expended much time and effort to correct the impression that he torpedoed a public health-care option—up to a point.Has Daschle Gone Rogue?
June 28, 2009
Historical Examples of torpedoed
Then we got word by wireless that the Lusitania had been torpedoed.The Emma Gees
Herbert Wes McBride
When the destroyer dropped her first bomb he wondered if the ship was torpedoed.
The mate 'e sticks 'is 'ead in the door and says: 'We're torpedoed, sir.'
Immediately after the ship was torpedoed the radio was out of commission.
She had acknowledged our call by searchlight before we were torpedoed.
- 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
- to hit (a ship, etc) with one or a number of torpedoes
- to render ineffective; destroy or wreckto torpedo the administration's plan
Word Origin 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.