atomic bomb


Definition of atomic bomb

1 : a bomb whose violent explosive power is due to the sudden release of energy resulting from the splitting of nuclei of a heavy chemical element (such as plutonium or uranium) by neutrons in a very rapid chain reaction

called also atom bomb

2 : a nuclear weapon (such as a hydrogen bomb)

Examples of atomic bomb in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Such was the secrecy surrounding the place where the atomic bomb was developed. Los Angeles Times, "Escapes: Beyond Barcelona lies the Spain you should know," 29 Aug. 2019 The eruption released 100,000 times the thermal energy of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, ejecting many tons of molten rock, pumice, and hot ash over the course of two days. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists discovered an invaluable cache of ritual artifacts at Pompeii," 14 Aug. 2019 As part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, government scientists and the U.S. military dropped the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert in 1945. Washington Post, "Lawmaker: Expand compensation from nuclear weapons testing," 16 July 2019 At the peak of Apollo program spending in 1966, Dreier says, NASA accounted for roughly 4.4% of the federal budget — 6.6% of discretionary spending — more than the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bomb. William Harwood, CBS News, "Apollo 11: How much did it cost to land astronauts on the moon?," 16 July 2019 Scientists everywhere were exploring the peaceful uses of nuclear capability while also studying its dangers, including the effects of atmospheric fallout from atomic bomb tests and the effects on those who worked with radioactive materials., "Liane Russell, who studied radiation’s effects on embryos, 95," 19 Aug. 2019 Cheryl Rofer, a retired chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb in New Mexico, believes Putin will never succeed. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Russian failed nuclear test hints at Putin's dangerous plans to beat U.S. defenses," 13 Aug. 2019 In the third photo in a four-photo sequence, actors drop to the ground, shielding as much of their bodies as possible against an atomic bomb blast. Scott Harrison, Los Angeles Times, "From the Archives: A-Bomb survival guide," 26 July 2019 In fact, for much of that decade, the United States regularly exploded atomic bombs in the deserts north of Las Vegas, adjacent to what is now Area 51. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "America's Decades-Old Obsession With Nuking Hurricanes (and More)," 26 Aug. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of atomic bomb

1914, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about atomic bomb

Statistics for atomic bomb

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for atomic bomb

The first known use of atomic bomb was in 1914

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for atomic bomb

atomic bomb


English Language Learners Definition of atomic bomb

: a bomb that produces an extremely powerful explosion when atoms are split apart

atomic bomb


Kids Definition of atomic bomb

: a bomb whose great power is due to the sudden release of the energy in the nuclei of atoms

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on atomic bomb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with atomic bomb

Spanish Central: Translation of atomic bomb

Nglish: Translation of atomic bomb for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about atomic bomb

Comments on atomic bomb

What made you want to look up atomic bomb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


transposition of initial sounds of words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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