1. An artificial firework consisting of a cylindrical case of paper or metal filled with a composition of combustible ingredients, as niter, charcoal, and sulphur, and fastened to a guiding stick. The rocket is projected through the air by the force arising from the expansion of the gases liberated by combustion of the composition. Rockets are used as projectiles for various purposes, for signals, and also for pyrotechnic display.
2. A blunt lance head used in the joust. Congreve rocket, a powerful form of rocket for use in war, invented by Sir William Congreve. It may be used either in the field or for bombardment; in the former case, it is armed with shells or case shot; in the latter, with a combustible material inclosed in a metallic case, which is inextinguishable when kindled, and scatters its fire on every side.
Origin: It. Rocchetta, fr. Rocca a distaff, of German origin. Named from the resemblance in shape to a distaff. See Rock a distaff.
Origin: F. Roquette (cf. Sp. Ruqueta, It ruchetta), fr. L. Eruca.
(01 Mar 1998)
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