A projectile that bounces off another surface is said to ricochet. You missed when you threw your crumpled paper at the wastepaper basket. Instead, the paper ricocheted off the wall and hit your brother on the head. The battle was on!

As a noun, ricochet refers to the rebound or to the object that ricochets. If someone shoots a bullet and it ricochets off a tree, you can survive the initial gunfire only to be caught by the ricochet. The word ricochet is from the French word of the same spelling. Because of its French origin, the word is still pronounced with the soft French "shay" sound at the end — not a hard "T."

Definitions of ricochet
  1. verb
    spring back; spring away from an impact
    synonyms: bounce, bound, rebound, recoil, resile, reverberate, spring, take a hop
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    kick, kick back, recoil
    spring back, as from a forceful thrust
    bound off, skip
    bound off one point after another
    rebound after hitting
    type of:
    bound, jump, leap, spring
    move forward by leaps and bounds
  2. noun
    a glancing rebound
    synonyms: carom
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    type of:
    backlash, rebound, recoil, repercussion
    a movement back from an impact
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