Definition of sortie in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsɔːtiː/


1An attack made by troops coming out from a position of defence.
Example sentences
  • Their sortie netted the two machineguns and eight prisoners.
1.1An operational flight by a single military aircraft.
Example sentences
  • I served in the Home Guard in the Blitz, and then for four years in the RAF, in which I survived 60 operational sorties in bomber aircraft.
  • First, the Air Force could try to increase the number of sorties flown by operational units.
  • Its first operational sorties took the form of raids against Republican-held airfields in March 1937.
raid, flight, operational flight, mission, operation
1.2A short trip or journey: an early-morning sortie into the garden of our hotel
More example sentences
  • Autumn is the time of year when we draw in our horns and make shorter sorties across the Channel to the likes of Paris, Bruges and Amsterdam.
  • This season will probably nudge the Gunners top as they have five home games straight after five European nights, while Chelsea have five away trips after sorties to the continent.
  • If you like a short sortie you can choose one, on the other hand if you like a brisk climb you may elect for the Masshill climb.
1.3An attempt to participate in a new activity or sphere: this latest book is the author’s first sortie into non-fiction
More example sentences
  • The only casualties were the rats Molly often kills in her sorties, now caught on video.
  • Both companies have taken on plenty of debt to finance the programming sorties.
  • By such reckoning, three million men will go on stag sorties and three million women will go on hen happenings.

verb (sorties, sortieing, sortied)

[no object]
Come out from a defensive position to make an attack: we’ll soon know if they sortie
More example sentences
  • Oxford were struggling to find any rhythm, and threatened only when the ever-composed Nick Light sortied into opposing territory.
  • Commissioned as an engineer when the Navy sharply divided engineers from deck officers, Reeves served aboard the USS Oregon as it led the chase to destroy the Spanish squadron sortieing from Santiago de Cuba.
  • Ships sortieing from the west coast would be adding 2,000 nautical miles to their patrols into the Pacific just to get to Hawaii.


Late 18th century: from French, feminine past participle of sortir 'go out'.

Words that rhyme with sortie

forty, haughty, naughty, pianoforte, rorty, shorty, sporty, UB40, warty

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sor¦tie

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.