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bom·​bard ˈbäm-ˌbärd How to pronounce bombard (audio)
: a late medieval cannon used to hurl large stones


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bom·​bard bäm-ˈbärd How to pronounce bombard (audio)
 also  bəm-
bombarded; bombarding; bombards

transitive verb

: to attack especially with artillery or bombers
: to assail vigorously or persistently (as with questions)
: to subject to the impact of rapidly moving particles (such as electrons)
bombardment noun

Did you know?

In the late Middle Ages, a bombard was a cannon used to hurl large stones at enemy fortifications. Its name, which first appeared in English in the 15th century, comes from the Middle French bombarde, which in turn was probably a combination of the onomatopoeic bomb- and the suffix -arde (equivalent to the English ­-ard). The verb bombard blasted onto the scene in English in the 17th century, with an original meaning of "to attack especially with artillery"; as weapons technology improved throughout the centuries, such artillery came to include things like automatic rifles and bomber aircraft. Nowadays one can be bombarded figuratively in any number of ways, such as by omnipresent advertising messages or persistent phone calls.

Choose the Right Synonym for bombard

attack, assail, assault, bombard, storm mean to make an onslaught upon.

attack implies taking the initiative in a struggle.

plan to attack the town at dawn

assail implies attempting to break down resistance by repeated blows or shots.

assailed the enemy with artillery fire

assault suggests a direct attempt to overpower by suddenness and violence of onslaught.

commandos assaulted the building from all sides

bombard applies to attacking with bombs or shells.

bombarded the city nightly

storm implies attempting to break into a defended position.

preparing to storm the fortress

Examples of bombard in a Sentence

Verb The navy bombarded the shore. Scientists bombarded the sample with X-rays. The car was bombarded by rocks as it drove away from the angry crowd.
Recent Examples on the Web
Despite being bombarded by propaganda and intimidated by the government, people may continue to question their government and find creative ways to express their discontent. Li Yuan, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 When someone takes a job at either Coalition or At-Bay and announces it on LinkedIn, they are typically bombarded with phishing texts purporting to be from their new CEO. Jeff Kauflin, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Kelter said the declines can be attributed to a variety of challenges including the voluntary nature of participating in the surveys as well as survey fatigue — that is, people getting bombarded with too many surveys. Elisabeth Buchwald, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 Israel has been bombarding Gaza for months, targeting Hamas fighters, since Hamas' Oct. 7 terror attack sparked the current war. Shannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 30 Jan. 2024 The Apollo landers and the Apollo rovers are still sitting on the lunar surface and have been probably bombarded by micrometeoroids, space dust flying around, definitely bombarded by radiation from the sun and cosmic sources. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 Jan. 2024 But Russia continued to bombard Ukrainian cities, including the capital, with missile attacks, and millions of Ukrainians had to endure Russian occupation. Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Foreign Affairs, 17 Jan. 2024 As Israel bombards Gaza, killing thousands of civilians, public anger at Israel and its Western backers is mounting. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2023 For weeks, when the controversy was focused on her lackluster response to antisemitism on campus, we were bombarded with stories about how figures such as former president Barack Obama had supported keeping Gay on as president. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 10 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bombard.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English bombard, bumbard, borrowed from Middle French bombarde, probably from an onomatopoeic base bomb- + -arde -ard — more at bomb entry 1

Note: As with bomba, bombe, etc. (see note at bomb entry 1), the origin and diffusion of bombarda, bombarde, etc., remain incompletely elucidated. French bombarde, in reference to an engine of war, appears in the Vrayes chroniques of Jean le Bel, a history of the Hundred Years War begun in 1357 (see Dictionnaire du Moyen Français, online) and in the accounts of the Valenciennes city clerk Nicole de Dury from 1363 (see H. Caffiaux, Nicole de Dury, maître clerc de la ville de Valenciennes 1361-1373, Valenciennes, 1866, p. 103). Italian bombarda may be dependent on the French word, given that the earliest use of the word is in reference to artillery used at the battle of Crécy in 1346 (in the final book of the Nuova Cronica of Giovanni Villani, who died in 1348; manuscripts containing the final book are significantly later). The 1311 date given for bombarda in Trésor de la langue française, Cortelazzo and Zolli's Dizionario etimologico della lingua italiana, and a number of earlier sources from which they draw (as the Enciclopedia Italiana) is incorrect; the text in question, the Polystorio or Polyhistoria by Niccolò da Ferrara (not Bartolomeo da Ferrara), alludes to events of 1311 but was written sometime after 1367, when the chronicle ends, at the court of Niccolò II d'Este, marquess of Ferrara from 1361 (cf. Richard Tristano, "History 'Without Scruple': The Enlightenment Confronts the Middle Ages in Renaissance Ferrara," Medievalia et Humanistica, new series, no. 38 [2012], p. 85). Spanish lombarda, attested about 1400, is clearly a folk-etymologizing of bombarda (pace Coromines' etymology in Diccionario crítico-etimológico castellano e hispánico, which does not take account of the earlier French forms).


earlier, "to fire a large cannon," borrowed from Middle French bombarder, verbal derivative of bombarde bombard entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bombard was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near bombard

Cite this Entry

“Bombard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


 also  bəm-
: to attack especially with artillery or bombers
: to attack forcefully or continuously (as with questions)
: to put under the force of rapidly moving particles (as electrons or alpha rays)

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