Definition of bullet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbʊlɪt/


1A metal projectile for firing from a rifle, revolver, or other small firearm, typically cylindrical and pointed, and sometimes containing an explosive.
Example sentences
  • She said authorities also found in the car automatic rifles, bullet cartridges, plastic explosives and other materials.
  • What I didn't know at the time was that these rifles fired bullets of the alkali metal potassium at the rate of three thousand rounds per minute.
  • Among the ammunition were shotgun cartridges and dum-dum bullets.
1.1Used in similes to refer to someone or something that moves very fast: the ball sped across the grass like a bullet
More example sentences
  • It's moving like a bullet, but it slows down fast; goes from sixty to zero, to reverse the old saying.
  • This report shows an economy that has not only turned around - it's moving forward like a bullet.
  • Lin was right, they didn't move slowly; Penny ran as fast as a bullet across the land just as the sun was beginning to set.
1.2US (In sporting contexts) a very fast ball: all afternoon, he threw bullets at the other team’s batters
More example sentences
  • Carr, seeing Johnson streaking down the right sideline wide open, threw a low bullet.
  • Against Washington, Johnson threw a bullet pass to the corner, hoping Anderson would be there.
  • He hits bullets to all fields, knocks in runs and is in the race for the batting rifle.
1.3 (the bullet) informal Dismissal from employment: your record’s bad, but it’s doubtful they’ll give you the bullet
More example sentences
  • He could just not bring himself to confront an unwanted employee, face to face, and give him the bullet.
  • After about eight months Meggy got the bullet and in October 1984 I was back in charge, this time not as mere caretaker.
  • And listen, between you and me, it's very doubtful they'll give you the bullet.
2 Printing A small symbol used to introduce each item in a list, for emphasis.
Example sentences
  • Here's a bullet pointed list of how my trip went, because I realize I've been less than linear here.
  • A nice touch is the fact that the character cards are back printed with a sequence of bullets.
  • These bullets lie within the padding or the margin of the list, depending on the browser.


dodge a bullet

informal Manage to avoid a difficult or unwelcome situation: his side dodged a bullet as two last-gasp goals handed Rochdale a 3-2 win over Northampton
More example sentences
  • His 2003 Tour victory was almost a loss - in his own words, he "dodged a bullet."
  • Perhaps the Germans dodged a bullet by virtue of their refusal to compete.
  • The President appears to have dodged a bullet in the investigation.


Early 16th century (denoting a cannonball): from French boulet, boulette 'small ball', diminutive of boule, from Latin bulla 'bubble'.

  • bulletin from mid 17th century:

    The word bulletin derives from Italian bulletta meaning ‘official warrant or certificate’—something like a passport today. The root is the Italian and medieval Latin word bulla ‘seal, sealed document’, the source of bill meaning ‘written statement of charges’ and of bull meaning ‘papal edict’. The original Latin meaning of bulla was ‘bubble’, and this is the basis of bowl (Old English) in the sense ‘ball’ and ultimately ‘basin’ and of budge (late 16th century) which comes via French bouger ‘to stir’, from Latin bullire ‘boil, bubble’, bullet (early 16th century) originally a small ball, bullion (Middle English) from the idea of bubbling metal, and ebullient (late 16th century) ‘bubbling’.

Words that rhyme with bullet


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bul¦let

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