Definition of volley in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvɒli/

noun (plural volleys)

1A number of bullets, arrows, or other projectiles discharged at one time: the infantry let off a couple of volleys
More example sentences
  • Normal war tactics involved massed ranks of lightly armed or armoured archers firing large volleys of arrows into formations of targets.
  • Royal Marines fired three volleys over the grave at the interment.
  • The archers obeyed and sent a volley of arrows onto the heads of the enemy.
barrage, cannonade, battery, blast, bombardment, broadside, salvo, fusillade;
storm, hail, shower, cascade, rain, stream, deluge, torrent, avalanche, blitz;
wall/curtain/barrier of fire
1.1A series of utterances directed at someone in quick succession: he unleashed a volley of angry questions
More example sentences
  • Maybe lesser mortals would have been put off by the volley of abuse he directed at her but in the end she triumphed, aided and abetted by passers by and stallholders.
  • My poor buddy didn't know what she had done wrong and could only stare in bewilderment at the volley of words being directed at her.
  • Drunken hecklers were a different matter: the only way to handle them was to unleash a volley of abuse, humbling them with a few crushing put-downs.
2(In sport, especially tennis or soccer) a strike or kick of the ball made before it touches the ground: a forehand volley
More example sentences
  • The challenges included running, catching, balancing tennis balls on rackets and practising ground strokes and volleys.
  • He has won each of his first eight service points with a mixture of aces, volleys and ground strokes.
  • The Liverpool striker scored with a volley that took the breath away.

verb (volleys, volleying, volleyed)

[with object]
1(In sport, especially tennis or soccer) strike or kick (the ball) before it touches the ground: she volleyed the ball home [no object]: he took his chance well, volleying into the top corner from 25 yards
More example sentences
  • He chipped the ball over the head of a defender before volleying the ball to the back of the net from inside the penalty area.
  • Once you have mastered this routine, work on repeating the drill but volley each ball.
  • Instead of volleying the ball he would score goals in training with his knees.
2Utter or discharge in quick succession: the dog was volleying joyful barks
More example sentences
  • Before she could volley back a smart reply, he offered her his arm.
  • Both sides sung their national anthems with not a hint of booing, and spent most of the game indulging in volleying songs back and forth.



Pronunciation: /ˈvɒlɪə/
Example sentences
  • I think there are fewer and fewer serve and volleyers around now so sooner or later you are going to see a baseliner win Wimbledon.
  • She is the last of what is now a dying breed, female serve and volleyers, which always puts her a step ahead of her younger rivals at Wimbledon.
  • He may be one of the best volleyers in the game, but that involves him getting to the net.


Late 16th century: from French volée, based on Latin volare 'to fly'.

  • volatile from Middle English:

    This was first used as a noun meaning a ‘creature that flies’, and it was also a collective word for ‘birds’. It derives from Old French volatil from Latin volare ‘to fly’. The association of the word with temperament is found from the mid 17th century, and with liquids that evaporate quickly by the later 17th. The flying shot called a volley (late 16th century) comes from the same source.

Words that rhyme with volley

Barbirolli, brolly, collie, dolly, folly, golly, holly, jolly, lolly, Mollie, molly, nollie, Ollie, polly, poly, trolley, wally

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vol¦ley

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