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.
"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.
"body projected or impelled forward by force," 1660s, from Modern Latin projectilis, from Latin proiectus, past participle of proicere "stretch out, throw forth," from pro- "forward" (see pro-) + combining form of iacere (past participle iactus) "to throw" (from PIE root *ye- "to throw, impel"). Specifically "a missile intended to be shot from a cannon by explosion of gunpowder, etc."
1630s, "action of bringing two parties face to face," for examination and discovery of the truth, from Medieval Latin confrontationem (nominative confrontatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of confrontari, from assimilated form of Latin com "with, together" (see con-) + frontem (nominative frons) "forehead" (see front (n.)). International political sense is attested from 1963 and traces to the "Cuban missile crisis" of the previous year.
mid-14c., pelot, "any little ball," as of a medicine or food, but especially a little metallic ball used as a missile, from Old French pelote "small ball" (11c.) and directly from Medieval Latin pelotis, from Vulgar Latin *pilotta, diminutive of Latin pila "ball, playing ball, the game of ball," perhaps originally "ball of hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).
early 14c., "metal-pointed missile weapon thrown by the hand," from Old French dart "throwing spear, arrow," from Proto-Germanic *darothuz (source also of Old English daroð, Old High German tart "a dart, javelin," Old Norse darraþr "dart"). Italian and Spanish dardo are said to be from Germanic by way of Old Provençal. Also used since Middle English of Cupid's love-arrows. Dart-board is from 1901.
Meaning in English apparently developed from "calculate," to "calculate with a view to action, plan," then to "direct a missile, a blow, etc." (late 14c.). Also used in Middle English of directing a letter, planting an altar, pitching a tent. Intransitive sense "intend, attempt" (early 14c.) was used by Shakespeare but is now considered colloquial. Related: Aimed; aiming.