1

bomb

noun \ ˈbäm \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of bomb

1 a : 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
7 a British : a great success : hit
b slang : one that is striking or extraordinary used with the
  • their new album is the bomb
8 a : 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

Examples of bomb in a Sentence

  1. A bomb went off downtown.

  2. Many bombs were dropped on the city during the war.

  3. They hid a bomb in the building.

  4. countries that have the bomb

Recent Examples of bomb from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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 1bombard
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. 1pump.


2

bomb

verb

Definition of bomb

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

bombing

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

Examples of bomb in a Sentence

  1. The city was heavily bombed during the war.

  2. The planes flew 200 miles to bomb their target.

  3. The movie bombed at the box office.

  4. The play bombed on Broadway.

  5. He bombed at his first performance.

  6. I completely bombed my math exam.

  7. A car was bombing down the highway.

  8. teenagers bombing around in a convertible

Recent Examples of bomb from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of bomb

derivative of 1bomb


BOMB Defined for English Language Learners

bomb

noun

Definition of bomb for English Language Learners

  • : a device that is designed to explode in order to injure or kill people or to damage or destroy property

  • the bomb : nuclear weapons

  • : something that is a complete failure


bomb

verb

Definition of bomb for English Language Learners

  • : to attack (a place or people) with a bomb or many bombs

  • : to fail completely

  • : to fail (a test)


BOMB Defined for Kids

1

bomb

noun \ ˈbäm \

Definition of bomb for Students

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.

2

bomb

verb

Definition of bomb for Students

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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to remove or wipe out

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!