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Etymology 1[edit]

From Italian rocchetta, from Old Italian rochetto (rocket, literally a bobbin), diminutive of rocca (a distaff), from Lombardic rocko (spinning wheel), from Proto-West Germanic *rokkō, from Proto-Germanic *rukkô (a distaff, a staff with flax fibres tied loosely to it, used in spinning thread). Cognate with Old High German rocco, rocko, roccho, rocho ("a distaff"; > German Rocken (a distaff)), Swedish rock (a distaff), Icelandic rokkur (a distaff), Middle English rocke (a distaff). More at rock.


A rocket (vehicle propelled by a rocket engine).

rocket (plural rockets)

  1. A rocket engine.
  2. (military) A non-guided missile propelled by a rocket engine.
  3. A vehicle propelled by a rocket engine.
  4. A rocket propelled firework; a skyrocket.
  5. (slang) An ace (the playing card).
  6. (military slang) An angry communication (such as a letter or telegram) to a subordinate.
    • 1980, David Schoenbrun, Soldiers of the Night: The Story of the French Resistance, Dutton, →ISBN, page 203:
      While [Colonel Robert] Solborg and [Jacques] Lemaigre[-Dubreuil] were dreaming of revolts, [William Joseph “Wild Bill”] Donovan had learned of Solborg’s insubordination and meddling. He sent him a “rocket” ordering him out of North Africa and back to Lisbon at once. Solborg flew to Lisbon and then on to Washington to face out his problem with Donovan.
  7. A blunt lance head used in jousting.
  8. (figuratively) Something that shoots high in the air.
    • 2016 September 28, Tom English, “Celtic 3–3 Manchester City”, in BBC Sport[1], BBC Sport:
      Fernandinho launched a rocket that flew just over. Gundogan's shot hit off Sviatchenko and Gordon and went out. City pressed and pressed.
  9. (Scotland, slang) A stupid or crazy person.
    • 2014, Alistair Beaton, Rob Drummond, Morna Pearson, Contemporary Scottish Plays
      Why were the Luddites named efter Ned Ludd? A wee rocket. A wee fucken fairy bampot. A pure hooligan, smashing stuff up. A ned. Ned Ludd.
  10. (South East England, slang) A very physically attractive woman.
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]


rocket (third-person singular simple present rockets, present participle rocketing, simple past and past participle rocketed)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To accelerate swiftly and powerfully.
    • 2021 August 6, A. A. Dowd, “The Ryan Reynolds action-comedy Free Guy is a Truman Show for the Fortnite age”, in The A.V. Club[2]:
      With Free Guy, Reynolds gets just a little more in touch with his Carrey side via nothing less than his own version of The Truman Show, shorn of its daydream dread and rocketed into the age of Fortnite.
  2. To fly vertically.
  3. To rise or soar rapidly.
    • 2020 May 20, Paul Bigland, “East London Line's renaissance”, in Rail, pages 48-49:
      The project was attractive because of the ability to maximise the use of existing and decommissioned railways, minimise land take, and decrease the amount of disruption during the project. With London land prices rocketing, there was also a significant financial incentive.
  4. To carry something in a rocket.
  5. To attack something with rockets.

Etymology 2[edit]

Borrowed from French roquette, from Italian ruchetta, diminutive of ruca, from Latin eruca. Cognate to arugula, rucola, eruca, roquette.

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rocket leaf (Eruca sativa)

rocket (uncountable)

  1. The leaf vegetable Eruca sativa or Eruca vesicaria.
  2. Rocket larkspur (Consolida regalis).
Derived terms[edit]



rocket m (plural rockets)

  1. rocket (weapon)

Further reading[edit]