blow·​up | \ˈblō-ˌəp \
plural blowups

Definition of blowup 

(Entry 1 of 3)

: a blowing up: such as

a : explosion

b : an outburst of temper

c : enlargement sense 2

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 \

Definition of blow-up (Entry 2 of 3)

blow 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

Urged by his board to be more proactive, Mr. Zuckerberg quietly asked her to lead the company’s efforts to identify and prevent future blowups on the platform. Betsy Morris, WSJ, "Sheryl Sandberg’s New Job Is to Fix Facebook’s Reputation—and Her Own," 4 Sep. 2018 The most significant apparent blowup between the two came shortly after Nicki released her latest album, Queen, in August 2018 (more on this in a bit). Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and the sexist female rapper paradigm behind their feud, explained," 6 Nov. 2018 In a huge social media blowup, Jake kicked Alissa Violet out of the Team 10 house, accusing the YouTuber of cheating on him. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Jake Paul's Biggest Controversies," 26 Sep. 2018 The problem for these two Wall Street giants wasn’t a hypothetical trading blowup or loan losses, the Fed said, but rather the effect of the 2017 tax overhaul, which created a one-time hit to their capital levels. Lalita Clozel, WSJ, "Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dinged in Fed Stress Tests," 28 June 2018 Two months ago, a brief blowup between the two countries led President Trump to briefly cancel, then reschedule, his summit meeting with Mr. Kim. New York Times, "North Korea Criticizes ‘Gangster-Like’ U.S. Attitude After Talks With Mike Pompeo," 7 July 2018 Tents come with blowup mattresses, coolers and ice, and guests have access to showers at a neighboring beach bar (from $149). Elaine Glusac, New York Times, "Glamping Slips Into the Mainstream," 15 June 2018 Wednesday’s ninth-inning blowup cost Jose Urena his first win of the season. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Brad Ziegler is out as Marlins closer after latest meltdown," 31 May 2018 Image Marvel Studios likes to supersize everything — its heroes, blowups, runtimes, opening theaters, market share and so on. Chris Mckenna, New York Times, "Review: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Save the World! With Jokes!," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Modern video games, of both the online and the meaty single-player narrative variety, seem to arrive, blow up, and then fade away at an ever-faster rate these days. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Tetris Effect is perfect for people overwhelmed by modern video games," 18 Nov. 2018 Go here, blow up monsters, go there, find hidden item, blow more stuff up, collect reward, wash, rinse, repeat. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sunset Overdrive review: Ride the rails to kaboom-town (finally on PCs, too)," 17 Nov. 2018 The mine was taken under control by the U.S. Coast Guard, moved to a safe area, and blown up. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Sea Mine Sighted, Blown Up Off Washington Coast," 29 Aug. 2018 Like many Bay Area cooks before them, Dela Paz and Punla wonder why Filipino food — informed by high-end restaurant training, aimed at young eaters like them — hasn’t yet blown up here. Jonathan Kauffman,, "Likha brings Michelin pedigrees to Filipino bar food," 5 July 2018 Plenty of players have seen their recruitment blow up after a solid month of July. Alex Schiffer, kansascity, "This week in Mizzou recruiting: Updates on Terrence Hargrove, Jack Buford and more," 5 July 2018 Queen Creek Casteel's Gunner Cruz and Gilbert Higley's Spencer Brasch, both 2019 quarterbacks, have seen their recruiting blow up this spring, as well. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Desert Mountain QB Kedon Slovis' recruiting taking off with Kurt Warner's help," 16 May 2018 Lasers remove tattoos by blowing up pigment molecules into tiny pieces, which are then cleared away by an immune system response. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "6 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Laser Tattoo Removal," 31 Oct. 2018 The truth is that BernieCare would essentially blow up the entire current health system. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Price of BernieCare," 11 Oct. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near blowup



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Statistics for blowup

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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