torpedo \tor-PEE-doh\ noun
"a weapon for destroying ships by rupturing their hulls below the waterline: as, a submarine mine, a thin cylindrical self-propelled underwater projectile, a large sandwich on a long split roll with any of a variety of fillings"
Among the undersea wreckage, the divers found an unexploded torpedo."The threat of 'massive surprise bombardment,' as the white paper puts it, is one reason why South Korean forces have held back on striking targets inside North Korea in reprisals for surprise attacks such as that on Yeonpyeong Island and also on the navy corvette the Cheonan, sunk by a torpedo fired by a midget submarine in March with a loss of 46 lives." -- From an article by Donald Kirk in The Christian Science Monitor, December 30, 2010
Like the adjective "torpid," "torpedo" can be traced back to the Latin verb "torp re," meaning "to be sluggish or numb." In Latin "torpedo" referred to stiffness or numbness, and also to the crampfish or electric ray. "Torpedo" first entered English as a name for the electric ray. During the Napoleonic Wars, the American inventor Robert Fulton experimented with an explosive charge for use against warships which he called a "torpedo" (and which we would now refer to as a mine), after the electric ray's ability to incapacitate creatures it comes in contact with. Fulton was also the inventor of the "Nautilus," an early hand-powered submarine which was one of the precursors of the vessels that would deliver the more familiar cigar-shaped torpedoes with such devastating effects during the 20th century's two World Wars.Test Your Vocabulary: Fill in the blanks to create a word for a sandwich made with round Italian bread and filled with cold cuts, cheese, and olive salad: m _ _ f _ _ _ t _ _. The answer is ...