- any of various plants belonging to the genus Hesperis, of the mustard family, and related genera.Compare dame’s rocket.
- Also called rocket salad, roquette. the arugula plant, used in salads.
- a noxious weed, Barbarea vulgaris, of the U.S., having lobed leaves and clusters of small, yellow flowers.
- a self-propelling device, esp a cylinder containing a mixture of solid explosives, used as a firework, distress signal, line carrier, etc
- any vehicle propelled by a rocket engine, esp one used to carry a warhead, spacecraft, etc
- (as modifier)rocket propulsion; rocket launcher
- British and NZ informal a severe reprimand (esp in the phrase get a rocket)
verb -ets, -eting or -eted
- (tr) to propel (a missile, spacecraft, etc) by means of a rocket
- (intr ; foll by off, away , etc) to move off at high speed
- (intr) to rise rapidlyhe rocketed to the top
- Also called: arugula a Mediterranean plant, Eruca sativa, having yellowish-white flowers and leaves used as a salad: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)
- any of several plants of the related genus Sisymbrium, esp S. irio (London rocket), which grow on waste ground and have pale yellow flowers
- yellow rocket any of several yellow-flowered plants of the related genus Barbarea, esp B. vulgaris
- sea rocket any of several plants of the related genus Cakile, esp C. maritima, which grow along the seashores of Europe and North America and have mauve, pink, or white flowers
- dame’s rocket another name for dame’s violet
garden plant of the cabbage family, c.1500, from Middle French roquette (16c.), from Italian rochetta, diminutive of ruca “a kind of cabbage,” from Latin eruca “colewort,” perhaps so called for its downy stems and related to ericus “hedgehog,” also “a beam set with spikes,” from PIE *ghers- “to bristle” (see horror).
type of self-propelling projectile, 1610s, from Italian rocchetto “a rocket,” literally “a bobbin,” diminutive of rocca “a distaff,” so called because of cylindrical shape. The Italian word probably is from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German rocko “distaff,” Old Norse rokkr), from Proto-Germanic *rukkon-, from PIE root *rug- “fabric, spun yarn.”
Originally “fireworks rocket,” meaning “device propelled by a rocket engine” first recorded 1919; rocket-ship in the modern sense first attested February 1927 (“Popular Science”); earlier as a type of naval warship firing projectiles. Rocket science in the figurative sense of “difficult, complex process or topic” is attested by 1985. Rocket scientist is from 1952.
That such a feat is considered within the range of possibility is evidenced by the activities of scientists in Europe as well as in America. Two of them, Prof. Herman Oberth and Dr. Franz Hoeff, of Vienna, are constructing a five-ton rocket ship in which they hope to reach the moon in two days. [“Popular Science,” Feb. 1927]
“to spring like a rocket,” 1860, from rocket (n.2). Earlier “to attack with rockets” (1799). Related: Rocketed; rocketing.
- A vehicle or device propelled by one or more rocket engines, especially such a vehicle designed to travel through space.