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

In recent years, the board has highlighted numerous safety violations at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the once-secret facility in New Mexico that helped develop the atomic bomb. Susan Montoya Bryan, The Seattle Times, "Nuclear safety oversight board takes aim at new policies," 28 Aug. 2018 Sellars evens sees a possibility of another opera tackling the atomic bomb. Paul Ross, Popular Mechanics, "I Am Become Opera: An Atomic Show In the Shadow of Los Alamos," 27 July 2018 The United States attacked with atomic bombs rather than an invasion, and Japan surrendered before the Kairyu fleet could be used. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "In the Last Days of World War II, Japan Fielded a Fleet of Kamikaze Mini-Subs," 11 Feb. 2019 If this method were in use in 1942, the U.S. would never have had advanced radar systems or an atomic bomb. WSJ, "Fix Pentagon Policy Before Seeking New Funds," 1 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, the freeze on new material — including tritium, an element necessary for the North to make advanced atomic bombs as well as the far more powerful hydrogen bombs — would mean that the program would slowly decay. William J. Broad, The Seattle Times, "Bolton says North Korea could disarm in a year," 2 July 2018 As 316 survivors recovered in hospitals on Guam, atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ended the war, but the timing only intensified the tragedy of their shipmates’ loss—879 dead out of a crew of 1,195—in the closing days of the war. Walter R. Borneman, WSJ, "‘Indianapolis’ Review: Supreme Sacrifice," 30 Aug. 2018 Although the odds of a direct hit on the planet any time soon are slim, even a small asteroid the size of a house could explode with as much energy as an atomic bomb. New York Times, "Asteroids and Adversaries: Challenging What NASA Knows About Space Rocks," 14 June 2018 It is estimated that the eruption of Vesuvius 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, "Extreme heat of Vesuvius eruption vaporized body fluids, exploded skulls," 9 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of atomic bomb

1914, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

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The first known use of atomic bomb was in 1914

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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

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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

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