Shell (projectile)
A shell is a payload-carrying projectile
A projectile is any object projected into space by the exertion of a force. Although a thrown baseball is technically a projectile too, the term more commonly refers to a weapon....

, which, as opposed to shot
Round shot
Round shot is a solid projectile without explosive charge, fired from a cannon. As the name implies, round shot is spherical; its diameter is slightly less than the bore of the gun it is fired from.Round shot was made in early times from dressed stone, but by the 17th century, from iron...

, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot (AP, APCR, APCNR, APDS, APFSDS and proof shot). Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer
Tracer ammunition
Tracer ammunition are bullets that are built with a small pyrotechnic charge in their base. Ignited by the burning powder, the phosphorus tail burns very brightly, making the projectile visible to the naked eye...

 or spotting charge is used. Originally "bombshell", but "shell" has come to be unambiguous in a military context.