air·​burst | \ ˈer-ˌbərst How to pronounce airburst (audio) \
variants: or air burst

Definition of airburst

: the burst of a shell or bomb in the air

Examples of airburst in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Each airburst was as powerful as a nuclear blast, instantaneously vaporizing the soil and vegetation underneath and producing powerful shock waves that destroyed everything for tens of kilometers around. Javier Barbuzano / Eos, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Comet May Have Destroyed This Paleolithic Village 12,800 Years Ago," 6 Apr. 2020 Before the end, 100 Indian nukes hit cities in Pakistan, while 150 Pakistani airburst attacks hit cities in India. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Misery of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan would be global," 4 Oct. 2019 There were also airbursts, little bags of materials discreetly hung in the air that look like outdoor aerial fireworks when trigged. Matt Wake |, al, "How an Alabama company made Kiss pyro and fake blood," 28 July 2019 However, space rocks which were smaller than about 40 meters in diameter were more likely to explode in an airburst, posing a different kind of risk to the people below. Jasper Hamill, Fox News, "7 terrifying ways that asteroids could wipe out life on our planet revealed," 28 June 2018 Cannon and Turret Jaguar has a two-man turret armed with one 40mm CTC cannon that can fire a wide range of options including airburst, armor piercing and HE (High Explosive) ammunition to defeat a large spectrum of threats. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Formidable 'Jaguar' recon vehicle revealed, touts powerful cannon and anti-tank missiles," 18 June 2018 If a nuclear bomb exploded in an airburst, around 90% of people would die instantly near the centre of the blast: a roughly 1.9km (1.2-mile) radius for a 300-kiloton (KT) device—the estimated force of the weapon North Korea tested in September. The Economist, "Thinking the unthinkableHow to increase your chances of surviving a nuclear blast," 18 Jan. 2018 The latest analysis of the bollide that burst over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February suggests that the risk from such airbursts — which occur when friction in our atmosphere heats up a meteor — may be greater than previously thought. Adam Mann, WIRED, "Russian Meteor Explosion Might Mean Earth Gets Hit More Often Than We Think," 7 Oct. 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'airburst.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of airburst

1914, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of airburst was in 1914

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Cite this Entry

“Airburst.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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