Meaning of torpedo

tor•pe•do

Pronunciation: (tôr-pē'dō), [key]
— n., pl. v., -does, -doed, -do•ing.
—n.
  1. a self-propelled, cigar-shaped missile containing explosives and often equipped with a homing device, launched from a submarine or other warship, for destroying surface vessels or other submarines.
  2. any of various submarine explosive devices for destroying hostile ships, as a mine.
  3. a cartridge of gunpowder, dynamite, or the like, exploded in an oil well to facilitate the extraction of oil from the well.
  4. a detonating device fastened to the top of a rail so as to be exploded by the pressure of a locomotive or car, thus giving an audible signal to members of a train crew.
  5. any of various other explosive devices, as a firework that consists of an explosive wrapped up with gravel in a piece of tissue paper and that detonates when thrown forcibly on the ground or against a hard surface.
  6. Also called torpe&prim;do fish&sec;. an electric ray, esp. Torpedo nobiliana, of the Atlantic Ocean.
  7. an electric catfish, Malapterurus electricus, inhabiting waters of tropical central Africa and the Nile valley.
  8. a hero sandwich.
  9. a gangster hired as a murderer.
—v.t.
  1. to attack, hit, damage, or destroy with torpedoes.
  2. to explode a torpedo in (an oil well) to facilitate the extraction of oil.
  3. to undermine, ruin, or destroy: He torpedoed our plans.
—v.i.
  1. to attack, damage, or sink a ship with torpedoes.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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