a. A pointed missile, often having tail fins, thrown by hand, shot from a blowgun, or expelled by an exploding bomb.
b. darts (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Games A game in which such missiles are thrown at a target.
c. An object likened to such a missile.
2. The stinger of an insect.
3. A sudden, rapid movement: He made a dart for the door.
4. A tapered tuck sewn to adjust the fit of a garment.
v. dart·ed, dart·ing, darts
1. To move suddenly and rapidly: The dog darted across the street.
2. To be directed suddenly and rapidly: His eyes darted around the room.
1. To cause to dart: The squirrel darted its head from side to side.
a. Archaic To throw or cast (a dart or missile).
b. To cast (a look or the eyes) suddenly and rapidly in a direction.
3. To shoot (an animal, for example) with a dart, especially to inject a drug.
[Middle English, from Old French, of Frankish origin; akin to Old English daroth and Old High German tart, javelin, throwing spear.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.