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 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 After all, Martinez had been instructed to stop consuming caffeine — blowing up on the umpiring crew like that was probably more strenuous on the heart than some coffee. Nick Schwartz, For The Win, "Dave Martinez was checked by a doctor after his animated World Series tirade," 30 Oct. 2019 The last photograph, blown up to poster size, was the most startling and intimate. Lisette Poole, Smithsonian, "Roaring Through Cuba With Che Guevara’s Son," 24 Oct. 2019 Young artists also held in high regard some traditional approaches while blowing up others, tossing aside such standard subject matter as religious themes and pastoral scenes in favor of detailed scenes highlighting social issues. Deborah Martin,, "‘Victorian Radicals’ say yes to sex, no to technology in San Antonio Museum of Art exhibit," 10 Oct. 2019 Leave it to Rockstar to completely blow up the November release calendar on a random Friday morning in October, eh? Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally coming to PC," 4 Oct. 2019 So when the fire blows up, there may not be much warning, time, or help., "At the base of a canyon, every fire season can be a gamble," 23 July 2019 With his team’s late-game in-bounds play blown up by a deflection, Tyus Jones calmly collected the loose ball, took a couple dribbles up toward the 3-point line and launched. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Tyus Jones grateful for his time with Timberwolves, ready for ‘new opportunities’ in Memphis," 18 July 2019 Unfortunately, his car didn't want to cooperate with that mandate on Saturday as his engine blew up during qualifying, relegating him to a mid-pack starting spot for Sunday's race. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar: Scott Dixon ready to drive like he's got nothing to lose," 23 June 2019 Authorities in Edgewood, Pennsylvania, say a house on Garland Street blew up just before 2:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, quickly collapsing atop the male homeowner, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Rachel Desantis,, "Pennsylvania Father Allegedly Blows Up House on Daughter's Wedding Day in Apparent Suicide," 16 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

Statistics for blowup

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for blowup

The first known use of blowup was in 1536

See more words from the same year

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).


the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
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!