Etymology
Advertisement
missile (n.)

"thing thrown or discharged as a weapon for the purpose of hitting something," 1650s, from missile (adj.), 1610s, "capable of being thrown," chiefly in phrase missile weapon, from French missile and directly from Latin missilis "that may be thrown or hurled" (also, in plural, as a noun, "weapons that can be thrown, darts, javelins"), from missus "a throwing, hurling," past participle of mittere "to release, let go; send, throw" (see mission). Sense of "self-propelled rocket or bomb" is first recorded 1738; in reference to modern rocket-propelled, remote-guidance projectiles by 1945.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
ICBM (n.)
also I.C.B.M., 1955, initialism (acronym) for Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. IBM in the same sense is from 1954.
Related entries & more 
SAM (n.)

1958, acronym for surface to air missile.

Related entries & more 
ABM (n.)
1963, initialism (acronym) for anti-ballistic missile.
Related entries & more 
downrange (adv.)

"along the course of a missile, spacecraft, etc.," 1952, from down (adv.) + range (n.).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
warhead (n.)
also war-head, 1898, "explosive part of a torpedo," from war (n.) + head (n.). Later transferred to any missile (1944).
Related entries & more 
astrobleme (n.)

"crypto-explosion structure on Earth caused by meteorite or asteroid impact," 1961, literally "star-wound," from astro- "star" + Greek bleme "throw of a missile; wound caused by a missile," from ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach"). Coined by U.S. geologist Robert S. Dietz.

Related entries & more 
launch (n.1)
"a leap or a bound," mid-15c., from launch (v.). Meaning "place where a boat is launched" is from 1711. Meaning "the liftoff of a missile, spacecraft, etc." is from 1935. Launch pad attested from 1960.
Related entries & more 
boomerang (n.)
"missile weapon used by Australian aborigines," 1827, adapted from an extinct Aboriginal languages of New South Wales, Australia. Another variant, perhaps, was wo-mur-rang (1798).
Related entries & more 
shy (v.1)
"to throw (a missile) with a jerk or toss," 1787, colloquial, of unknown origin and uncertain connection to shy (adj.). Related: Shied; shying.
Related entries & more