air·​burst ˈer-ˌbərst How to pronounce airburst (audio)
variants or air burst
: the burst of a shell or bomb in the air

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web However, some astronomers wonder if these accounts describe a Tunguska-style airburst that leveled a city. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, 28 May 2020 North Korea’s military simulated a nuclear airburst with two tactical ballistic missiles equipped with mock warheads during Monday’s training, while testing a nuclear-capable underwater attack drone again on March 25-27, KCNA said in separate dispatches. Reuters, NBC News, 28 Mar. 2023 Yet, an airburst isn't necessarily the only potential cause. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 25 Feb. 2022 The Chelyabinsk fireball's explosion was the second largest airburst recorded on Earth — and an impressive example of the destructive force NEOs can bring to our planet. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 22 May 2014 Frame-by-frame inspection suggests the weapon detonates before impact, creating an airburst which is more effective against personnel. David Hambling, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 Only within the last two years have corroborating documents been found that point to the 1888 death of a man via a meteoritic airburst, Brennecka writes. Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2022 Past research has also suggested war or climate change may have cause the dissipation of Hopewell society, though the civilization may have eventually collapsed due to several causes, including a cosmic airburst. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Feb. 2022 This type of cosmic event is called an airburst because a comet or meteorite explodes high in the Earth's atmosphere, instead of striking the surface. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'airburst.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1914, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of airburst was in 1914

Dictionary Entries Near airburst

Cite this Entry

“Airburst.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on airburst

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!