Definition of ricochet in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈrɪkəʃeɪ/
Pronunciation: /ˈrɪkəʃɛt/

verb (ricochets, ricocheting /ˈrɪkəʃeɪɪŋ/, ricocheted /ˈrɪkəʃeɪd/ or ricochets, ricochetting /ˈrɪkəʃɛtɪŋ/, ricochetted /ˈrɪkəʃɛtɪd/)

[no object, with adverbial of direction]
1(Of a bullet or other projectile) rebound off a surface: a bullet ricocheted off a nearby wall
More example sentences
  • Bullets can ricochet off water, rocks, trees, metal, and other hard surfaces.
  • Lucas instinctively covered his head as the attack endured, the bullets ricocheting against every surface they struck.
  • Bullets ricochet off rock surfaces, and broken glass crunches underneath your boots.
1.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Cause to rebound off a surface: they fired off a couple of rounds, ricocheting the bullets against a wall
More example sentences
  • It was scripted by Johnny Speight when this red-brick apartment block just off the Bayswater Road was a real fun factory and Ray Galton and Alan Simpson also ricocheted one-liners round a rented room.
  • I ricochet my eyes between her and Hubba Hubba Boy.
  • What's more likely to shake your equilibrium is that the room is covered in hard, reflective surfaces that ricochet sound.
1.2Appear to move with a series of ricochets: the sound ricocheted around the hall
More example sentences
  • And tragically for the series, it ricocheted back too far in the other direction and delivered an insanely difficult multi-stage nightmare.
  • Tibetans were sacrificed by Nehru in 1954 in return for Beijing's hand of friendship, a move that ricocheted in 1962.
  • That was all she had time to say, for in the next moment, a loud sound ricocheted throughout the entire hall and she watched in horror as the roof fell towards her.


1A shot or hit that rebounds off a surface: she was hit by a ricochet in the leg
More example sentences
  • Gunfights become remarkably tense, exciting affairs as you take cover in a crossfire of whistling ricochets.
  • When shooting for practice, make sure your backstop will prevent ricochets and protect bystanders.
  • I believe they use ceramic bullets which are designed to fragment on hitting a hard object, preventing ricochets and depressurisation.
1.1 [mass noun] The action or movement of a bullet or other projectile when ricocheting: the practice of low-level skip bombing relied on ricochet for effect
More example sentences
  • Designed to be highly effective while reducing the danger from over-penetration or ricochet, the projectile is designed to totally fragment into fine particles upon impact.
  • It breaks up instantly and completely on impact, with no ricochet or lead accumulation.
  • The probability of ricochet decreases as the impact angle increases.


Mid 18th century: from French, of unknown origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rico|chet

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.