A modern torpedo is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with its target or in proximity to it.

Historically, it was called an automotive, automobile, locomotive or fish torpedo; colloquially called a fish. The term torpedo was originally employed for a variety of devices, most of which would today be called mines. From about 1900, torpedo has been used strictly to designate an underwater self-propelled weapon.

While the battleship had evolved primarily around engagements between armoured ships with large-caliber guns, the torpedo allowed torpedo boats and other lighter surface ships, submersibles, even ordinary fishing boats or frogmen, and later, aircraft, to destroy large armoured ships without the need of large guns, though sometimes at the risk of being hit by longer-range shellfire.

Today's torpedoes can be divided into lightweight and heavyweight classes; and into straight-running, autonomous homers, and wire-guided. They can be launched from a variety of platforms.


The word torpedo comes from the name of a genus of electric rays in the order Torpediniformes, which in turn comes from the Latin "torpere" (to be stiff or numb). In naval usage, the American Robert Fulton introduced the name to refer to a towed gunpowder charge used by his French submarine Nautilus (first tested in 1800) to demonstrate that it could sink warships.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Torpedo
العربية: طربيد
asturianu: Torpedu
বাংলা: টর্পেডো
Bân-lâm-gú: Hî-lûi
беларуская: Тарпеда
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Тарпэда
български: Торпедо
bosanski: Torpedo
català: Torpede
čeština: Torpédo
Cymraeg: Torpido
dansk: Torpedo
Deutsch: Torpedo
eesti: Torpeedo
Ελληνικά: Τορπίλη
español: Torpedo
Esperanto: Torpedo
euskara: Torpedo
فارسی: اژدر
français: Torpille
Gaeilge: Toirpéad
한국어: 어뢰
հայերեն: Տորպեդ
हिन्दी: टॉरपीडो
hrvatski: Torpedo
Ido: Torpedo
Bahasa Indonesia: Torpedo
íslenska: Tundurskeyti
italiano: Siluro
עברית: טורפדו
қазақша: Торпеда
latviešu: Torpēda
lietuvių: Torpeda
magyar: Torpedó
Bahasa Melayu: Torpedo
Nederlands: Torpedo (wapen)
日本語: 魚雷
norsk: Torpedo
norsk nynorsk: Torpedo
occitan: Torpilha
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਟਾਰਪੀਡੋ
پنجابی: تارپیڈو
polski: Torpeda
português: Torpedo
română: Torpilă
русский: Торпеда
Scots: Torpedo
Simple English: Torpedo
slovenčina: Torpédo
slovenščina: Torpedo
српски / srpski: Торпедо
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Torpedo
suomi: Torpedo
svenska: Torped
Türkçe: Torpido
українська: Торпеда
اردو: آبیگولہ
Tiếng Việt: Ngư lôi
吴语: 鱼雷
粵語: 魚雷
中文: 魚雷