black powder


: an explosive mixture of potassium nitrate or sodium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur used especially in fireworks and as a propellant in antique firearms compare gunpowder

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web And that's before getting to the part about the giant beetles who talk through their sphincters, the beetles that turn into typewriters Lee works on, giant bugs which are sliced apart in an open market to become a black powder, and everyday caterpillars, just to name a few. Sarah Sprague,, 28 May 2021 The 93 is only safe for black powder. John Gordon, Outdoor Life, 10 Mar. 2021 The most powerful came on a foggy afternoon in October 1890, when over 100,000 pounds of black powder detonated, collapsing seven buildings. Margo Rabb, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Feb. 2023 During the Song Dynasty, the Chinese used black powder extremely effectively in siege warfare, particularly against the Mongols. Marisa Sloan, Discover Magazine, 12 Oct. 2022 The planes also dropped 20 smaller bombs that only had black powder charge. Audrey Mcavoy, ajc, 1 Dec. 2022 The Rebel intentionally borrows some Power Wagon design cues, including black powder coating for the grille and bumpers and a Mopar Sport hood. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 24 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'black powder.' 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

1793, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of black powder was in 1793

Dictionary Entries Near black powder

Cite this Entry

“Black powder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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