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

Definition of blowup

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a blowing up: such as
a : explosion
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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for blowup

Synonyms: Noun

explosion, fireworks, fit, hissy [chiefly Southern & southern Midland], hissy fit, huff, scene, tantrum

Synonyms: Verb

flare (up), flip (out) [slang]

Antonyms: Verb

calm (down), simmer down

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Examples of blowup in a Sentence


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.


she blew up at everybody after a very long and very bad day the building blew up because of a gas leak
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Secondly, Monday’s action in the oil markets indicated that a full-scale military blowup in the Middle East could cause a much bigger price jump. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Awful Middle East Policies Are Coming Back to Haunt Him," 17 Sep. 2019 The designer Gemma Kahng, who once rented space at 1441, showed up at the exhibition to find a giant blowup of herself from the ’90s. New York Times, "Cindy Crawford, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan: An ’80s Fashion Mystery," 15 Sep. 2019 Good relationships can easily withstand the pressures of mixed messages or an occasional misunderstanding, so don't let a minor blowup knock you off your feet. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Sept. 13, 2019: Cancer, spontaneity could add spice; Libra, divert your attention to those you love," 13 Sep. 2019 In fact, the impetus for the war came from Cairo and Damascus, not Moscow, which had sought to avert the blowup. Vance Serchuk, National Review, "Russia’s Middle East Power Play," 12 Sep. 2019 Even his infamous sideline blowup with Green appears to have led to character growth by both men. Scott Ostler,, "Phantom of the Warriors’ Opera: Kevin Durant’s status a strange mystery," 8 June 2019 The Brewers tacked on another run against Tomlin as Mike Moustakas followed Grandal's blowup with a single and two batters later Hiura tripled to center to drive him in. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Braves 4, Brewers 2: Offense silent again as Milwaukee's free-fall continues," 15 July 2019 The size is worth noting because there are also three mural-size blowups of Hine photographs. Mark Feeney,, "At the Gardner: When some plans are bigger than others," 19 June 2019 Nowadays, race relations are mostly cordial in Limestone County but for a few rare blowups. The Courier-Journal, "In McConnell’s boyhood town where his family owned slaves, the reparations debate thrives," 13 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Vannett’s inability to get a body on Steelers’ cornerback Mike Hilton gave the defender a near-free run at the point of the exchange and Hilton blew up the play. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers: 10 winners and losers," 16 Sep. 2019 There’s a rousing call in the US to cancel student-loan debt, and to effectively blow up our current system in its entirety. David Klein, Quartz, "The US doesn’t have a student debt problem. It has a college tuition crisis," 12 Sep. 2019 So your job becomes to find a way to melt or blow up that ice, revealing a path forward that is also a path precipitously downward. Wired, "Gears 5: A War Game That Really Deals with War Trauma," 5 Sep. 2019 While blowing up bovines isn't a common occurrence, using animals - or their carts- to square off against enemies has happened before. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "ISIS using booby-trapped bovines to go after enemies in Iraq, reports say," 3 Sep. 2019 Maskalunas sniffed out a fake punt on fourth and 1 from the South Florida 20 and blew up punter Trevon Sands for a 3-yard loss. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW running back Jonathan Taylor rushes for 100 yards again and shows work on receiving skills is paying off," 31 Aug. 2019 Kitchens will either be a coaching genius this year, or this will all blow up spectacularly. Ben Volin,, "Patriots facing difficult roster decisions this week," 24 Aug. 2019 In 2014, Bennett pleaded guilty in federal court to threatening communication in interstate commerce after he was accused of sending messages threatening to rape women, kill the governor and blow up buildings in 2013. Christina Morales | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Molotov cocktail suspect charged with second-degree bias crime, other charges," 15 Aug. 2019 And in 2018, the federal Farm Bill legalized growing hemp for commercial purposes, blowing up the demand for the new crop. Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "As Minnesota hemp industry booms, Joe Radinovich chosen to lead trade organization," 12 Aug. 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.

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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

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Statistics for blowup

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for blowup

The first known use of blowup was in 1536

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More Definitions for blowup



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blowup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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 wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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