• To throw (a projectile such as a lance, dart or ball); to hurl; to propel with force.
  • To pierce with, or as with, a lance.
  • To cause (a vessel) to move or slide from the land or a larger vessel into the water; to set afloat.
  • To cause (a rocket, balloon, etc., or the payload thereof) to begin its flight upward from the ground.
  • To send out; to start (someone) on a mission or project; to give a start to (something); to put in operation
  • To start (a program or feature); to execute or bring into operation.
  • To release; to put onto the market for sale
  • Of a ship, rocket, balloon, etc.: to depart on a voyage; to take off.
  • To move with force and swiftness like a sliding from the stocks into the water; to plunge; to begin.
  • To start to operate.


  • The movement of a vessel from land into the water; especially, the sliding on ways from the stocks on which it is built. (Compare: to splash a ship.)
  • The act or fact of launching (a ship/vessel, a project, a new book, etc.).
  • An event held to celebrate the launch of a ship/vessel, project, a new book, etc.; a launch party.
  • The boat of the largest size and/or of most importance belonging to a ship of war, and often called the "captain's boat" or "captain's launch".
  • A boat used to convey guests to and from a yacht.
  • An open boat of any size powered by steam, petrol, electricity, etc.


Narrower meaning words


  • From Middle English launchen ("to throw as a lance"), Old French lanchier, another form (Old Northern French/Norman variant, compare J√®rriais lanchi) of lancier, French lancer, from lance.
  • From Portuguese lancha ("barge, launch"), apparently from Malay lancar ("quick, agile"). Spelling influenced by the verb above.

Modern English dictionary

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