Etymology
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spitball (n.)
1846 in the schoolboy sense, "bit of paper chewed and rounded as a missile;" 1904 in the baseball sense, from spit (n.1) + ball (n.1).
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payload (n.)
also pay-load, by 1914, from pay + load (n.). Originally the part of a truck's (later an aircraft's) load from which revenue is derived (passengers, cargo, mail); figurative sense of "bombs, etc. carried by a plane or missile" is from 1936.
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firearm (n.)
also fire-arm, 1640s, from fire (n.) + arm (n.2). Anything which expels a missile by combustion of gunpowder (or a similar substance), from a pistol to a cannon. Related: Firearms.
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brickbat (n.)
mid-16c., piece of brick (half or less) used as a missile, from brick (n.) + bat (n.1) in the sense "a lump, piece." Figurative use, of comments, insults, etc., is from 1640s.
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crossbow (n.)

also cross-bow, "missile-throwing weapon consisting of a bow fixed athwart a stock," mid-15c., from cross (n.) + bow (n.1). Unknown to the ancients but common in Europe in the Middle Ages.

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bolt (v.)
from bolt (n.) in its various senses (especially "a missile" and "a fastening"); from a crossbow arrow's quick flight comes the meaning "to spring, to make a quick start" (early 13c.). Via the notion of fleeing game or runaway horses, this came to mean "to leave suddenly" (1610s). Meaning "to gulp down food" is from 1794. The meaning "to secure by means of a bolt" is from 1580s. Related: Bolted; bolting.
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discharge (n.)

late 14c., "relief from misfortune," see discharge (v.). Meaning "release from work or duty" is from early 15c. Meaning "act of sending out or pouring forth" is from c. 1600; sense of "that which is emitted or poured forth" is from 1727. Meaning "action of firing off a firearm or other missile weapon" is from 1590s. Electricity sense is from 1794. 

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snark (n.)

imaginary animal, coined 1876 by Lewis Carroll in "The Hunting of the Snark." In 1950s, name of a type of U.S. cruise missile, and in 1980s, of a type of sailboat. Meaning "caustic, opinionated, and critical rhetoric" is from c. 2002, probably from snarky and not directly related, if at all, to Lewis Carroll's use of snark.

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destruct (v.)

"to destroy," 1958, probably a back-formation from destruction in the jargon of U.S. aerospace and defense workers to refer to deliberate destruction of a missile in flight by a friendly agent; popularized 1966 in form self-destruct in the voice-over at the beginning of TV spy drama "Mission Impossible." OED records an isolated use of destructed from 17c., in this case probably from Latin destructus, past participle of destruere.

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ballistic (adj.)
1775, "pertaining to construction and use of thrown objects," ultimately from Greek ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach"). Of rockets or missiles (ones that are guided while under propulsion, but fall freely), from 1949. Ballistic missile first attested 1954; they attain extreme heights, hence figurative expression go ballistic (1981) "become irrationally angry."
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