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Definition of torpedo:

  1. A kind of detonating cartridge or shell placed on a rail, and exploded when crushed under the locomotive wheels, - used as an alarm signal.
  2. A kind of firework in the form of a small ball, or pellet, which explodes when thrown upon a hard object.
  3. A kind of shell or cartridge buried in earth, to be exploded by electricity or by stepping on it.
  4. A kind of small submarine boat carrying an explosive charge, and projected from a ship against another ship at a distance, or made self- propelling, and otherwise automatic in its action against a distant ship.
  5. A quantity of explosives anchored in a channel, beneath the water, or set adrift in a current, and so arranged that they will be exploded when touched by a vessel, or when an electric circuit is closed by an operator on shore.
  6. A weapon which throws or propels a missile to a distance; any firearm or instrument for throwing projectiles by the explosion of gunpowder, consisting of a tube or barrel closed at one end, in which the projectile is placed, with an explosive charge behind, which is ignited by various means. Muskets, rifles, carbines, and fowling pieces are smaller guns, for hand use, and are called small arms. Larger guns are called cannon, ordnance, fieldpieces, carronades, howitzers, etc. See these terms in the Vocabulary.
  7. An automobile with a torpedo body.
  8. An engine or machine for destroying ships by blowing them up.
  9. An explosive cartridge or shell lowered or dropped into a bored oil well, and there exploded, to clear the well of obstructions or to open communication with a source of supply of oil.
  10. Any one of numerous species of elasmobranch fishes belonging to and allied genera. They are related to the rays, but have the power of giving electrical shocks. Called also crampfish, and numbfish. See Electrical fish, under Electrical.
  11. to destroy by, or subject to the action of, a torpedo.


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