\ 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

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 The use of nuclear weapons—whether a big, Hiroshima-style strategic bomb or a smaller-range tactical device—would effectively escalate the conflict into a world war. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2022 And then, that’s when, as the surfer’s lingo goes, the swell, the bomb, the bombora, the boomer, the kahuna, the comber, rose up overhead and crashed on top of them, leaving them gasping for air in all the wash. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Sep. 2022 There’s nothing natural about the atom bomb, or a self replicating nanobot that will eat the Earth. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 9 Sep. 2022 Or his longest completion of the year, a 64-yard bomb to Mooney in a win over the Detroit Lions? Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 7 Sep. 2022 This box set includes a soy candle, lip balm, shea butter, a fizzy bath bomb, a healing stone, matches and a personalized card — all with a cool, mystic theme. Alesandra Dubin, Good Housekeeping, 7 Sep. 2022 Outside the gates, the melee turned deadlier when, five days before the deadline, a suicide bomb detonated at Abbey Gate, killing 11 marines, an Army soldier, a Navy corpsman, and 170 Afghan civilians. Michael Venutolo-mantovani, WIRED, 30 Aug. 2022 Reviewers love this citrusy bath bomb, which also contains eucalyptus and calming CBD isolate. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, 4 Aug. 2022 The Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer led the U.S. effort to develop a functioning nuclear bomb, which was prompted by fears that Adolf Hitler was preparing to make use of nuclear technology developed by German scientists. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, 21 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In 1944, Jewish leaders begged the American government to bomb the rail lines leading to Auschwitz; those pleas were rejected. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 5 Sep. 2022 The players must be rushed to bomb shelters if air-raid sirens sound. Editors, USA TODAY, 23 Aug. 2022 No fans will be allowed in the 65,000-capacity downtown stadium for the 1 p.m. local time kickoff and the players must be rushed to bomb shelters if air-raid sirens sound. Graham Dunbar, ajc, 22 Aug. 2022 Curtis LeMay, the former Air Force general who urged President Kennedy to bomb Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was his running mate. Joel Mathis, The Week, 1 Aug. 2022 This may be behind a fiasco this week when two Russian Su-27s attempted to bomb targets on Snake Island and missed not only their targets but the island itself. David Hambling, Forbes, 15 July 2022 That year, five would-be American terrorists were convicted of plotting to bomb Sears Tower. Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 26 June 2022 In mid-2014, Fluke-Ekren told a government witness about plans to bomb a U.S. shopping mall or college, according to prosecutors. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, 7 June 2022 More security than looking up to the night sky hoping a plane doesn’t catch sight of your car and bomb you. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 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.

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

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bomb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 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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