vol·ley / ˈvälē/ • n. (pl. -leys) 1. a number of bullets, arrows, or other projectiles discharged at one time: the infantry let off a couple of volleys. ∎ a series of utterances directed at someone in quick succession: he unleashed a volley of angry questions. ∎ Tennis an exchange of shots. 2. (in sports, esp. tennis or soccer) a strike or kick of the ball made before it touches the ground.• v. (-leys, -leyed) [tr.] (in sports, esp. tennis or soccer) strike or kick (the ball) before it touches the ground: he volleyed home the ball. ∎ score (a goal) with such a shot. ∎ [intr.] (in tennis and similar games) play a pregame point, sometimes in order to determine who will serve first. ∎ utter or discharge in quick succession: the dog was volleying joyful barks.DERIVATIVES: vol·ley·er n.
a flight of missiles; a bursting forth of many things at once; a crowd of persons or things; a company of troops; a flock of birds in flight.
Examples: volley of anathemas, 1874; of angels, 1610; of archers, 1656; of arrows, 1598; of bullets; of small charms, 1749; of compliments, 1782; of darts,1788; of disgraces, 1593; of ring doves, 1601; of duns (debts, or the people trying to cover them), 1693; of grievances, 1779; of gunfire; of guns, 1839; of tumultuous hail, 1737; of love and loyalty, 1647; of merriment, 1877; of miseries, 1639; of musketry, 1817; of oaths, 1649; of praises, 1620; of scriptures, 1590; of shot, 1583; of stones, 1686; of words, 1591.
Hence vb. XVI.