+0
The butterflies in my stomach have gone ballistic. What is the meaning of 'ballistic' in this sentence?
1 2
Comments  
Hi,

Consider a 'nuclear missile'. This receives its initial thrust very, very quickly from a rocket. It zooms up very quickly. We also call such a missile a 'ballistic missile'.

When his team lost the big game, Tom went ballistic. This means Tom got very, very angry, very quickly. 'To go ballistic' is a common phrase for anger which 'zooms up very quickly'.

However, your example doesn't quite fit. We don't think of butterflies as getting angry. 'Butterflies in your stomach' is a common way of saying you are nervous. The speaker seems to mean he got a sudden, strong feeling in his stomach because of a sudden emotion. Perhaps it was nervousness, but without a context, the situation is not clear.

Best wishes, Clive
Hello Rish

"Ballistics" is the study of projectiles.

"To go ballistic" is slang for "to get annoyed to the point of losing self-control".

So in your phrase, your stomach is churning violently.

MrP
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thanks Clive and MrPedantic. Now, I understand the meaning. The original sentence is from 'Stress Management' section for TOEFL students.
well to start off, ballistic means relating or characterizing motionof objects moving under their own momentum and gravitational force...
* so the example does not specifically go with the scientific "real" definiton.
It's an interesting thought, Anon; though I suppose butterflies have momentum, in their own flying-crooked way.

Best wishes,

MrP
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
crazy , mental
it means irritation or anger
Hi,

Not irritation, which is quite a mild emotion.

Clive
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more