\ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to Afghan police spokesman, Ferdaws Faramarz, the bomb exploded as prayers had begun. Tameem Akhgar, Star Tribune, "Afghan police say Kabul mosque bombing kills 12 worshippers," 14 May 2021 However, the biggest bomb dropped Monday when NBC pulled out of airing next year's Globes. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Why NBC dropping the Golden Globes is a put-up-or-shut-up moment for the HFPA," 10 May 2021 At the very end of the episode, all three were victims of targeted attacks: a bomb exploded in Beth's office, gunmen stormed Kayce's office and John was shot on the side of the road. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "'Yellowstone' Fans Are Convinced Kelly Reilly's New Instagram Post Reveals Beth's Fate," 9 May 2021 The bomb was in the elder Shay’s driveway when Hurley and Foley were among the officers called to investigate the device., "Citing First Step Act, judge tosses life sentence for man who built bomb that killed Boston police officer in 1991," 7 May 2021 While the last trailer dropped the major bomb that Hopper is alive, this new trailer goes back in time in Eleven's past and sees her back in the Hawkins National Laboratory with Dr. Brenner AKA Papa. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "New "Stranger Things" Season 4 Teaser Trailer Proves Some Fan Theories Right with Surprise Character Return," 6 May 2021 The investigation showed Pullen made phone calls to the campuses that included bomb threats. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Sheriff’s office charges man with threatening 2 Huntsville schools," 5 May 2021 Broward schools have experienced several bomb threats recently — with schools facing new threats every few weeks. Brooke Baitinger,, "Employee charged with sending bomb and mass shooting threats to schools," 29 Apr. 2021 The bomb accidentally detonates, setting the school on fire. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "US School Violence Fast Facts," 25 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Smaller companies bomb during recession, but do very well when the economy picks itself back up. Dan Runkevicius, Forbes, "This Mistake Can Wipe Out Your $1,400 Stimulus Check," 19 Mar. 2021 In 2013, the asset management firm BlackRock unleashed a lobbying blitz to carpet-bomb a new Treasury Department agency, pushing federal regulators away from tightening requirements on its massive business lines. Washington Post, "Two Biden aides will recuse on BlackRock issues as past ties pose questions," 2 Jan. 2021 Adams was an Anniston gas station owner publicly linked to the burning of a bus carrying Freedom Riders, the unsolved murder of Willie Brewster and an unearthed plot to bomb churches and newspapers. al, "Nat King Cole was beaten on a Birmingham stage 65 years ago today," 10 Apr. 2021 The current detention of undocumented minors at the border and the presidential orders to bomb in Syria remind voters that Biden is doing exactly what the now-silent media used to blast Trump for doing. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Trumpism without Trump?," 4 Mar. 2021 In 1941, the British government banned sale of tickets amid rumors that Japan, in advance to entering World War II, was to bomb Allahabad where the Kumbh was slated to take place. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, "India prepares for Kumbh Mela, world’s largest religious gathering, amid COVID-19 fears," 8 Apr. 2021 In 1995, a New York City jury returned guilty verdicts in a seditious conspiracy case against Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and nine others for plotting to bomb New York City-area landmarks and tunnels. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "After Oath Keepers charges, could feds accuse Capitol attackers of conspiring to overthrow U.S. government?," 19 Feb. 2021 In many of these segments, Paytm has tried to carpet bomb existing players with lower service costs, discounts, and cashback. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz, "India’s most-valued unicorn has spread itself too thin," 22 Mar. 2021 Two Navy pilots hatch a rogue mission to bomb Hanoi with a special low-altitude plane. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘An American in Paris’; ‘Ben-Hur’," 26 Mar. 2021

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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Statistics for bomb

Last Updated

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bomb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for bomb



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.

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