\ 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 the their 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 drop dropped 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

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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 There are than 5,000 bomb shelters in Helsinki -- enough to shelter more than the city's entire population -- and more than 50,000 bunkers across the country, according to Helsinki's Civil Defense Department. ABC News, 12 May 2022 For the past three decades, bomb shelters weren’t functional, but relics from the bygone Cold War-era when war seemed imminent. Natalia Ojewska, WSJ, 11 May 2022 Throughout the 10-week-old Russian offensive, schools — which often serve as bomb shelters — have been vulnerable to attack. Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2022 The same goes for underground bomb shelters and public buildings in a historic city that was founded in the 13th century. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Istomina was one of many people who took shelter in Kyiv’s subway stations, which have been used as bomb shelters. Marty Swant, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Many pregnant refugees arriving in Poland have been sitting in crowded bomb shelters for weeks in unsanitary conditions, with little access to reliable food, water or electricity. Lauren Egan, NBC News, 26 Apr. 2022 Videos by young Ukrainians inside bomb shelters represent some of the most personal glimpses to date of teenage life inside a war zone. Thomas Bishop, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Apr. 2022 As many as 2,000 people have taken up permanent residence in the city’s 60 bomb shelters, and many more have fled, said Vitaliy Barabash, the head of Avdiivka’s military administration. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Allies betrayed her by declining to bomb the railway lines to Auschwitz. Ruth Franklin, The New York Review of Books, 11 May 2022 There are pilots in prison who had maps with civilian targets to bomb. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 10 Apr. 2022 That compelled him to ask the Ukrainian military to bomb the property. Jason Duaine Hahn,, 19 Apr. 2022 But Wells said that some humanitarian routes opened in Ukraine had to quickly be closed or not used at all because Russian forces allegedly continued to bomb the passages despite both sides agreeing to a ceasefire. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, 12 Apr. 2022 My parents were among those senior Kyiv residents hunkering down in apartments or rushing to bomb shelters. Serhy Yekelchyk, WSJ, 8 Apr. 2022 Resisting pressure from military advisers to bomb nuclear missile sites the Soviet Union had placed on the island, Kennedy instead imposed a naval blockade. John Harwood, CNN, 27 Mar. 2022 Ukraine was already neutral when Putin decided to bomb the country into staying that way. Jan Smoleński, The New Republic, 22 Mar. 2022 Instead Putin has resorted to the blunt instrument of trying to bomb Ukraine into submission, according to Bronk and other experts. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 18 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bomb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bomb


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on bomb

Nglish: Translation of bomb for Spanish Speakers

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


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