blow·​up | \ ˈblō-ˌəp How to pronounce blowup (audio) \
plural blowups

Definition of blowup

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a blowing up: such as
b : an outburst of temper
d : a catastrophic financial failure or collapse Sometime in the next few years, a blowup is likely—one that could sink an already foundering economy.— David Henry


\ ˈblō-ˌəp How to pronounce blow-up (audio) \

Definition of blow-up (Entry 2 of 3)

blow up

blew up; blown up; blowing up; blows up

Definition of blow up (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to build up or tout to an unreasonable extent advertisers blowing up their products
2 : to rend apart, shatter, or destroy by explosion
3 : to fill up with a gas (such as air) blow up a balloon
4 : to make a photographic enlargement of
5 : to bring into existence by blowing of wind it may blow up a storm

intransitive verb

1a : explode
b : to be disrupted or destroyed (as by explosion)
c : to lose self-control especially : to become violently angry
2 : to become or come into being by or as if by blowing of wind
3a : to become filled with a gas
b : to become expanded to unreasonable proportions
c : to gain a large amount of weight In the ensuing two years Gibson blew up to more than 400 pounds as he ate an over-abundance of fast foods …— Tim Crothers
4 : to suddenly become very successful, prevalent, or popular Latin-tinged pop is blowing up because it fits the musical times: …— Christopher John Farley

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for blowup

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of blowup in a Sentence

Noun The blowup of the photograph was easy to frame. The two of them had a big blowup about something trivial. The coach's latest blowup occurred when one of his players arrived late. Verb she blew up at everybody after a very long and very bad day the building blew up because of a gas leak
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Similar blowups happened at malls across the nation that day. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Manchester mall announces youth curfew through holiday shopping season to deter brawls," 20 Nov. 2019 Interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees paint a sobering picture of life inside Fisher Investments that began long before the recent blowup. Sabrina Willmer, Los Angeles Times, "Inside Ken Fisher’s investment kingdom, where the pace and the talk can be rough," 22 Oct. 2019 Arizona had dropped to 5 ½ games back in the NL wild-card race after a bullpen blowup led to a 12-6 loss to Miami Tuesday night., "Marlins rally vs. Diamondbacks comes up short after rough outing by Alcantara," 18 Sep. 2019 Soon after, more Bolton-sympathetic stories appeared, suggesting that the national-security adviser had tried to stop Trump from easing sanctions on Iran in a final blowup. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Trump Finally Fired John Bolton, but Does It Really Matter?," 11 Sep. 2019 In the end, there was a blowup, and the fallout was so bad that the first two couples never spoke to the third after their return. Shivani Vora, Washington Post, "Going on a ‘friendcation’? Nine tips to ensure you’ll still be speaking after the trip.," 6 Sep. 2019 After the blowup, Jenni was noticeably absent from Angelina’s bridal shower last month and reportedly ended her relationship with Zack the day after their Vegas feud episode aired. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "Jersey Shore Cast Celebrates Angelina Pivarnick’s Bachelorette in New Orleans," 8 Nov. 2019 If Chile seems an unlikely flash point, why the blowup there? John Authers | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Chile’s Violence Has a Worrisome Message for the World," 22 Oct. 2019 Several in-game decisions drew heavy criticism, the Mets batted out of order once in 2018, and he was fined by the club for cursing at a beat reporter during a June blowup at Wrigley Field in Chicago following a tough loss to the Cubs. Mike Fitzpatrick, Houston Chronicle, "Mets fire manager Mickey Callaway after 2 seasons," 3 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some commentators have described the Hawley bill as blowing up the business model of large Internet companies by forcing them to vet their users and advertisers in an unprecedented fashion. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Big Tech’s Favorite Legal Shield Is in Danger," 20 Nov. 2019 Instead of a causality loop, our heroes—now, with Schwarzenegger’s Terminator on the side of good—are allowed to change the future by blowing up Cyberdyne. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Causality Loops and Terminator’s 35-Year Struggle to Make Time Travel Convincing," 2 Nov. 2019 For many years a tank — good for blowing up 250 to 300 balloons would cost the Woodwards $100 to $150. Steven Goode,, "A Windsor couple has been giving balloons to trick-or-treaters for 40 years, but this year the tradition ends," 31 Oct. 2019 Despite the comical misalignment on Beckham’s long touchdown, Gregg Williams’s defense did do a good job of blowing up a lot of at-the-line routes, forcing the Browns to go more vertical at a time when their offensive line isn’t exactly a strength. Conor Orr,, "Baker Mayfield and the Browns Are This Close to Being Excellent," 19 Sep. 2019 The Eberle brothers had dynamite for blowing up railroad bridges, and strychnine to poison the food and water that rebel wives would offer to investigating lawmen. Trevor Paulhus, Smithsonian, "When the Socialist Revolution Came to Oklahoma—and Was Crushed," 19 Sep. 2019 The Cubs won in 2016 and the Astros in 2017, both after blowing up their rosters in the hope of building a winner, but the first part does not guarantee the second. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Inside MLB: Who’s hot and who’s not this week," 7 Sep. 2019 This would signal that the ECB can cut rates further without blowing up the banking system. The Economist, "Mario Draghi and the ECB confront a slowing euro zone," 5 Sep. 2019 Iran had been caught plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. by blowing up a popular Georgetown restaurant. CBS News, "Gen. Jim Mattis on war and Trump," 1 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blowup.' 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 blowup


1757, in the meaning defined above


1850, in the meaning defined above


1536, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about blowup

Time Traveler for blowup

Time Traveler

The first known use of blowup was in 1536

See more words from the same year

Statistics for blowup

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Blowup.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for blowup


How to pronounce blow up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of blowup

: a photograph that has been made larger
: an angry argument
: an occurrence in which someone becomes very angry : an angry outburst

More from Merriam-Webster on blowup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for blowup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blowup

Comments on blowup

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


to constrict the range or activity of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!