\ ˈbäm How to pronounce bomb (audio) \

Definition of bomb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an explosive device fused to detonate under specified conditions
b : atomic bomb also : nuclear weapons in general usually used with the
2 : a vessel for compressed gases: such as
a : a pressure vessel for conducting chemical experiments
b : a container for an aerosol (such as an insecticide) : spray can
3 : a rounded mass of lava exploded from a volcano
4 : a lead-lined container for radioactive material
5 : failure, flop the play was a bomb
6 British : a large sum of money
7a British : a great success : hit
b slang : one that is striking or extraordinary used with thetheir new album is the bomb
8a : a long pass in football
b : a very long shot (as in basketball) shooting 3-point bombs also : home run
9 : something unexpected and unpleasant often used with dropdropped a bomb with her resignation


bombed; bombing; bombs

Definition of bomb (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to attack with or as if with bombs : bombard The planes successfully bombed their target. a bombed village
2a : to defeat decisively
b baseball : to score many runs against (a pitcher) Allen tried a new slider pitch without success and was bombed in Cincinnati.— Jack Lang
3 : to hit (a ball, puck, or shot) very hard bomb a home run bomb a long drive down the fairway
4 slang : to fail (a test) I bombed my history exam.

intransitive verb

1 informal : to fall flat : to fail completely The movie bombed at the box office. a joke that bombed
2 informal : to move rapidly a car bombing down the hill

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bomb


bombing noun
The city was subjected to heavy bombing during the war. suicide bombings

Examples of bomb in a Sentence

Noun A bomb went off downtown. Many bombs were dropped on the city during the war. They hid a bomb in the building. countries that have the bomb Verb The city was heavily bombed during the war. The planes flew 200 miles to bomb their target. The movie bombed at the box office. The play bombed on Broadway. He bombed at his first performance. I completely bombed my math exam. A car was bombing down the highway. teenagers bombing around in a convertible
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This will be lake effect snow rare for the month of May. The storm could intensify quickly enough over 24 hours to become a bomb cyclone by Saturday night. NBC News, "Mother's Day weekend snowstorm could bring bomb cyclone, thundersnow to Northeast," 7 May 2020 Bomb disposal officers carried out controlled detonations of seven wartime bombs on Sunday at the future Tesla site, German news agency DPA reported. Hailey Waller,, "Musk Takes On German Ecology Critics of Tesla Plant Near Berlin," 5 May 2020 Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport has reopened after a report of a bomb on a cargo flight bound for Asia prompted its diversion to Anchorage on Saturday morning. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage international airport reopens after report of bomb on cargo plane," 2 May 2020 In the heart of that bomb, mysteriously but truly present, is a fat old lady on her way to see the world’s fair. George Packer, The Atlantic, "A Novelist’s Ambition to Define America," 18 Apr. 2020 Because Gavins Point wasn’t designed to hold floodwater, its gates had to be opened last year, sending a surge downstream after Nebraska and parts of South Dakota were hit with rain and the bomb cyclone. Dinah Voyles Pulver And Mike Genet, USA TODAY, "Catastrophe 'a matter of time': Spring brings more fears for Missouri River flooding," 12 Apr. 2020 By 1991 a single warplane could hit two targets with a single pair of bombs. The Economist, "Daily chart Western European armies have shrunk dramatically," 2 Mar. 2020 The storm came just a week after another severe bomb cyclone, Storm Ciara, hit Britain, leaving the ground saturated and worsening the flooding from Dennis. Harold Maass, TheWeek, "February 17, 2020," 17 Feb. 2020 Traumatic brain injury has been the most common wound for troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, where insurgents turn to concealed roadside bombs to counter the military edge of U.S. and allied forces in face-to-face combat. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "Pentagon Raises Number of U.S. Troops Injured in Iranian Attack to 50," 29 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Consumer confidence has dive-bombed, sales have evaporated, and dealers are sitting on fat inventories. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "Electric Vehicle Lease Deals," 22 May 2020 In retaliation, the Iranians bombed the U.S. base in Iraq on Jan. 8. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "How a unique muscle car made it to US Army Base Camp in Kuwait," 21 Mar. 2020 For one, Dark Phoenix bombed pretty badly, and for another, HBO cancelled Vice News Tonight. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Keanu Reeves Showed Up at E3 to Say He's in Cyberpunk 2077," 10 June 2019 Oh, screw them, bomb them, kill them, pull out, bring them home. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "A New York Congressman Says That Trump Shows No Malice," 4 May 2020 That includes the deep-pocketed latecomer, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is in the process of carpet-bombing the Texas airwaves, in anticipation of this state’s March 3 primary. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: Bloomberg’s support for paid sick leave called into question," 19 Feb. 2020 In a sign of extreme investor jitters, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes bombed downward 122 basis points as the unthinkable—zero-bearing rates—became a distinct possibility. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Market preview: What to remember as we move past a quarter to forget," 8 Apr. 2020 No one seems to want to win the NFC East; the Cowboys are leading the division at 6-6 and the Eagles just bombed in Miami. Ann Killion,, "49ers a 13-3 wild card? Frank Gore playoff-bound? Some NFL questions," 2 Dec. 2019 Serbia has pledged to stay out of NATO, partly because the alliance bombed the country in 1999 to end a conflict in Kosovo. Jovana Gec, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Russia, Serbia vow to boost ties despite Belgrade’s EU bid," 19 Oct. 2019

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


1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1688, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for bomb


borrowed from Spanish or Italian bomba or French bombe, all probably in part from an onomatopoeic base bomb- (as in Greek bómbos "booming, humming," Old Norse bumba "drum," Lithuanian bambėti "to mutter, mumble," Albanian bumbullin "it is thundering"), in part back-formation from Medieval Latin bombardus or Middle French bombarde bombard entry 1

Note: The origin and transmission of bomba, bombe, etc., in the sense "explosive device, projectile, etc.," among European languages is not certain. Bomba is attested earliest in Spanish, appearing several times in the second half of the 16th century (canto 18 of La Araucana of Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, the Descripción general de África of Luis del Mármol, the Historia de las cosas…del Gran Reyno de la China of Juan González de Mendoza). Mendoza's book (1585) is the source of an early and aberrant instance of bomb in English: his bombas de fuego is rendered as "bomes of fire" in Robert Parke's translation (The Historie of the Great and Mightie Kingdome of China, London, 1588, p. 65). Bomba is recorded as Italian in Antoine Oudin's Italian-French dictionary (Recherches italiennes et françoises, Paris, 1640), where it is glossed "bombe, ou balon de feu" ("bomb, or ball of fire"), though it is not recorded in an Italian text until 1686 (Paolo Segneri, Il cristiano instruito, Florence, p. 327); Oudin's gloss also apparently constitutes the first record in French. Significantly earlier than any of these is Latin bombus, which occurs twice in the Commentarii, an account of the exploits of the condottiere Jacopo Piccinino in 1452-53 by the Neapolitan humanist Giannantonio de' Pandone, "il Porcellio" (ca. 1405-85); Pandone's bombus appears to be some sort of exploding projectile ("Hic Tibertus Dux bombi fulmine in ulna sauciatur" - "Here Tibertus [the condottiere Tiberto Brandolini] was wounded in the forearm by the flash of a bombus"); the 18th-century lexicographer Du Cange, in Glossarium mediae et infimae Latinitatis, glosses bombus in this passage, alluding to French bombe, as pila incendiaria, "fireball." Spanish bomba in the sense "pump," attested from the early 16th century, is probably an independent formation; cf. pump entry 1.


derivative of bomb entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bomb

Statistics for bomb

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bomb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bomb


How to pronounce bomb (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bomb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that is designed to explode in order to injure or kill people or to damage or destroy property
: nuclear weapons
US, informal : something that is a complete failure



English Language Learners Definition of bomb (Entry 2 of 2)

: to attack (a place or people) with a bomb or many bombs
informal : to fail completely
US slang : to fail (a test)


\ ˈbäm How to pronounce bomb (audio) \

Kids Definition of bomb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a hollow case or shell filled with explosive material
2 : a container in which something (as an insecticide) is stored under pressure and from which it is released in a fine spray
3 : something that is a complete failure The new movie was a bomb.


bombed; bombing

Kids Definition of bomb (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to attack with bombs
2 : to fail completely His comedy act bombed.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bomb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bomb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bomb

Spanish Central: Translation of bomb

Nglish: Translation of bomb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bomb for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bomb

Comments on bomb

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!