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


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

The blowup created a field of satellite debris at that altitude. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "India's Anti-Satellite Test Could Threaten the International Space Station," 2 Apr. 2019 Little did Rosie know that her comments would turn out to be a major talking point in one of the biggest View blowups in the show's history six days later. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "What Really Happened on 'The View' Between Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O'Donnell," 27 Mar. 2019 Weak governance has historically been tied to corporate blowups such as Volkswagen ’s diesel-emissions cheating scandal, just as weak environmental controls have been a cause of oil spills at companies like BP. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "#MeToo Is Not a Buying Opportunity for Investors," 12 July 2018 Guests entered through a giant blowup of Stormi's head, a concept taken straight from Astroworld's album cover. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Every Detail You Missed at Kylie Jenner’s Daughter’s Outrageous First Birthday Party," 11 Feb. 2019 The whole situation started strangely, with Riverdale star Vanessa Morgan singing to a blowup doll with a fabulous bob wig in blunt bangs. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "John Legend Went on 'Lip Sync Battle' and Wore a Fabulous Wig," 8 Feb. 2019 Similar rapid blowups in markets have happened in the past when market sentiment is fragile—and at a similar time of day, when liquidity in early Asian trading hours is thin and U.S. markets have recently closed. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Yen Surges After Apple Upsets the Currency Cart," 3 Jan. 2019 This is neither a string of unrelated blowups nor a meltdown in which contagion spreads by panic selling moving from nation to nation. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Emerging-Market Stocks Enter Bear Territory," 6 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Known as bakuchiol, the gentle, vegan ingredient is about to blow up the skin-care world. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "What Is Bakuchiol? Experts Explain the Benefits of the Natural Alternative to Retinol," 7 Sep. 2018 When combined with more conventional geophysical methods, these images could help volcanologists infer which parts would blow up first during an eruption, says D’Alessandro. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Muons: The Little-known Particles Helping to Probe the Impenetrable," 28 May 2018 Republican strategists privately say the House version could blow up in their faces if Democrats make this a campaign issue, especially in districts heavy in the outer suburbs and the farms. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Republicans Should Fear a Rural Revolt in 2018," 7 May 2018 San Diego firefighters found wires down at 41st and Wightman streets about 9 p.m. Police said a transformer blew up. Pauline Repard,, "Nearly 5,000 out of power through Mid-City," 3 May 2018 The National Rifle Association is urging members not to blow up their pricey YETI coolers. Leada Gore,, "NRA giving away free cooler stickers as YETI battle continues," 30 Apr. 2018 Rob Ferrel, aka Rob The Original who’s blowing up the internet right now with his totally unique approach to hair art. Tara Gardner, Allure, "This Selena Fan Shaved Her Portrait Into His Hair, and I Am Both Scared and Impressed," 15 Mar. 2019 The new president’s first political scandal blew up over the weekend after local press accused his party of diverting public campaign funds to candidates who supposedly didn’t run for office. ... Jeffrey T. Lewis, WSJ, "Brazil’s Bolsonaro Fires Key Adviser Amid Accusations of Campaign-Finance Fraud," 18 Feb. 2019 But Roosevelt’s life and career are powerful reminders that the promise of something along the lines of a blustery guy who blows up the system isn’t necessarily a mirage. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 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

12 Apr 2019

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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).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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