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torpedo

Syllabification: tor·pe·do
Pronunciation: /tôrˈpēdō
 
/

Definition of torpedo in English:

noun (plural torpedoes)

1A cigar-shaped self-propelled underwater missile designed to be fired from a ship or submarine or dropped into the water from an aircraft and to explode on reaching a target.
Example sentences
  • All aircraft dropped their bombs or torpedoes over the target, but on the return leg Beaufort A9-217 lost contact with the rest of the squadron and failed to return.
  • Two torpedo tubes are designed for firing remote-controlled torpedoes with a very high accuracy.
  • The ADF currently uses Mk46 Mod 1 Phase 11 and Mk 46 Mod 5a torpedoes from ships and aircraft.
1.1US A signal placed on a railroad track, exploding as the train passes over it.
1.2US A firework exploding on impact with a hard surface.
Example sentences
  • He accentuates his taps with an occasional torpedo, little explosive pellets that detonate on contact, which were a lot of fun before life got so safe and sane.
1.3 informal A submarine sandwich.
1.4 informal A gangster hired to commit a murder or other violent act.
2 (also torpedo ray) An electric ray.
Example sentences
  • Those closest to the lagoon entrance offer the best chance of finding a resting leopard shark or torpedo ray, especially early in the morning.
  • Another hot star here is a resident baby torpedo ray a mere 7 ‘long.’
  • Properties in common with electricity of the torpedo and other animals of this class are chiefly these: -

verb (torpedoes, torpedoing, torpedoed)

[with object] Back to top  
1Attack or sink (a ship) with a torpedo or torpedoes.
Example sentences
  • Unfortunately, the ship was torpedoed while still in the Baltic Sea and sank.
  • As for battle, ‘I was in the water twice,’ he would sometimes say, meaning that two of the ships he'd been on had been torpedoed or bombed and sunk.
  • The ship was torpedoed at about 0530 hours on September 12.
1.1Destroy or ruin (a plan or project): fighting between the militias torpedoed peace talks
More example sentences
  • There are a myriad of reasons why Congress may torpedo this plan.
  • Fears over traffic congestion could torpedo plans to make a Selby transport depot the hub of a nationwide distribution network.
  • It also adds to the anger following last year's Government decision to torpedo plans for a massive marina, following a public inquiry.

Origin

early 16th century (sense 2 of the noun): from Latin, literally 'stiffness, numbness', by extension 'electric ray' (which gives a shock causing numbness), from torpere 'be numb or sluggish'. sense 1 of the noun dates from the late 18th century and first described a timed explosive device for detonation under water.

More
  • Although we think of a torpedo as speeding through the water towards its target, at the heart of the word's origin is the notion of slowness and paralysis. The electric ray, a sluggish sea fish that lives at the bottom of shallow water, produces an electric shock to capture prey and for defence. Its Latin name was torpedo, from torpere ‘to be numb or sluggish’, source also of torpid (early 17th century), and when first used in English in the early 16th century torpedo referred to this ray. In the late 18th century the inventor of a timed explosive for detonation underwater gave it the name torpedo from the fish, and this is the ancestor of the modern self-propelled underwater missile.

Derivatives

torpedolike

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • The longtime Boat U.S. member of Alexandria, VA, was one of the judges who reviewed entries, from a one-person sub called Faux Fish, complete with articulating tail, to a red, six-sided torpedo-like sub called Miss FIT.
  • Its fuselage, elliptical in cross-section and torpedo-like in silhouette, refined the molded-plywood technique devised and patented ten years before.
  • As custom called for, a week later Irol's body was sealed and loaded aboard a torpedo-like missile and therewith launched toward the Flaming Moon, where other Apathonian royals and war heroes throughout the ages had been laid to rest.

Words that rhyme with torpedo

aikido, bushido, credo, Guido, Ido, libido, lido, speedo, teredo, tuxedo

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Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
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