Torpedo Tor*pe"do, n.; pl. {Torpedoes}. [L. torpedo, -inis, from torpere to be stiff, numb, or torpid. See {Torpid}.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of elasmobranch fishes belonging to {Torpedo} and allied genera. They are related to the rays, but have the power of giving electrical shocks. Called also {crampfish}, and {numbfish}. See {Electrical fish}, under {Electrical}. [1913 Webster]

Note: The common European torpedo ({Torpedo vulgaris}) and the American species ({Torpedo occidentalis}) are the best known. [1913 Webster]

2. An engine or machine for destroying ships by blowing them up; a mine[4]. Specifically: [1913 Webster +PJC] (a) A quantity of explosives anchored in a channel, beneath the water, or set adrift in a current, and so designed that they will explode when touched or approached by a vessel, or when an electric circuit is closed by an operator on shore; now called {marine mine}. [obsolete] [1913 Webster +PJC]

Damn the torpedoes -- full speed ahead! --Adm. David Glasgow Farragut (At the battle of Mobile Bay, 1864). (b) A kind of small submarine boat carrying an explosive charge, and projected from a ship against another ship at a distance, or made self-propelling, and otherwise automatic in its action against a distant ship. [1913 Webster]

3. (Mil.) A kind of shell or cartridge buried in earth, to be exploded by electricity or by stepping on it; now called {land mine}. [obsolete] [1913 Webster +PJC]

4. (Railroad) A kind of detonating cartridge or shell placed on a rail, and exploded when crushed under the locomotive wheels, -- used as an alarm signal. [1913 Webster]

5. An explosive cartridge or shell lowered or dropped into a bored oil well, and there exploded, to clear the well of obstructions or to open communication with a source of supply of oil. [1913 Webster]

6. A kind of firework in the form of a small ball, or pellet, which explodes when thrown upon a hard object. [1913 Webster]

7. An automobile with a {torpedo body}. [Archaic Cant] [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

{Fish torpedo}, a spindle-shaped, or fish-shaped, self-propelling submarine torpedo.

{Spar torpedo}, a canister or other vessel containing an explosive charge, and attached to the end of a long spar which projects from a ship or boat and is thrust against an enemy's ship, exploding the torpedo.

{Torpedo boat}, a vessel adapted for carrying, launching, operating, or otherwise making use of, torpedoes against an enemy's ship., especially, a small, fast boat with tubes for launching torpedoes.

{Torpedo nettings}, nettings made of chains or bars, which can be suspended around a vessel and allowed to sink beneath the surface of the water, as a protection against torpedoes. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • torpedoes — tor·pe·do || tÉ”r pɪːdəʊ /tɔː n. self propelled underwater missile launched from a submarine or boat; (Zoology) fish that has electric organs and is able to give electrical shock from its organs and enlarged pectoral (lives in tropical or …   English contemporary dictionary

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  • Damn the torpedoes — may refer to: A quotation attributed to David Farragut, referring to an order given at the Battle of Mobile Bay Damn the Torpedoes (album), a 1979 album by Tom Petty the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes , a 1971 book by J. E. Macdonnell Damn the… …   Wikipedia

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  • Torpedo — The modern torpedo (historically called an automotive, automobile, locomotive, or fish torpedo) is a self propelled explosive projectile weapon, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater toward a target, and designed to… …   Wikipedia

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