bo·​lide | \ ˈbō-ˌlīd How to pronounce bolide (audio) , -lid\

Definition of bolide

: a large meteor : fireball especially : one that explodes

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Bolide, like "fireball," is a name applied to very bright meteors that often trail sparks. A clue to the origins of "bolide" can be found in the missile-like appearance of these meteors. The Greek bolis, which comes from "bolē" ("throw" or "stroke"), literally means "missile" or "javelin." "Bolis" is the source of the Latin name given to these spectacular meteors, which is also "bolis." The word became "bolide" in French, from which it was borrowed by the English language in the mid-19th century.

Examples of bolide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That bolide blasted apart with the energy of 2.3 kilotons of TNT. National Geographic, "Surprise Meteor Lights Up Harvest Moon Festival," 9 Oct. 2017 Larger pieces of comet debris can create exceptionally bright meteors known as bolides. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "How to See the 2017 Perseid Meteor Shower," 11 Aug. 2017 The 17-meter bolide exploded in the air over the Chelyabinsk region of Russia on Feb. 15, shattering windows and injuring around 1,000 people. Adam Mann, WIRED, "Efforts to Protect Earth From Asteroids Are Under Way. But Will It Be Enough?," 22 Feb. 2013

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

1784, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bolide

French, from Latin bolid-, bolis, from Greek, from bolē throw, stroke

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The first known use of bolide was in 1784

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


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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