In modern military usage, a missile, or guided missile, is a self-propelled precision-guided munition system, as opposed to an unguided self-propelled munition, referred to as a rocket. All known existing missiles are designed to be propelled during powered flight by chemical reactions inside a rocket engine, jet engine, or other type of engine.

Missiles come in types adapted for different purposes: surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles (ballistic, cruise, anti-ship, anti-tank, etc.), surface-to-air missiles (and anti-ballistic), air-to-air missiles, and anti-satellite weapons.

All known existing missiles are designed to be propelled during powered flight by chemical reactions inside a rocket engine, jet engine, or other type of engine. Non-self-propelled airborne explosive devices are generally referred to as shells and usually have a shorter range than missiles.

In ordinary British-English usage predating guided weapons, a missile is "any thrown object", such as objects thrown at players by rowdy spectators at a sporting event.

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