chain reaction


Definition of chain reaction

1a : a series of events so related to each other that each one initiates the next
b : a number of events triggered by the same initial event
2 : a self-sustaining chemical or nuclear reaction yielding energy or products that cause further reactions of the same kind

Other Words from chain reaction

chain-react \ ˈchān-​rē-​ˈakt How to pronounce chain reaction (audio) \ intransitive verb

Examples of chain reaction in a Sentence

Increased oil prices could trigger a chain reaction in the economy.
Recent Examples on the Web Something could set off a chain reaction for you today. Chicago Tribune, 13 Sep. 2022 In a wide-ranging interview, the former Credit Suisse traders detailed the events leading to their fund’s implosion, which itself set off a chain reaction that has cost institutions and small-time speculators billions of dollars. Muyao Shen, Fortune, 22 July 2022 The House committee has also sharpened its focus on how the tweet set off a chain reaction that galvanized Mr. Trump’s supporters to begin military-style planning for Jan. 6. New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Byron Redmon died at a Dallas hospital Saturday following the deadly chain reaction shooting. Glenn Garner,, 1 Aug. 2022 After the initial crash, a chain reaction collision occurred between the car travelling the wrong way and two other southbound vehicles, state police said. Hartford Courant, 25 July 2022 The chain reaction crash started when a white passenger vehicle cut in between the riders, Indiana State Police said. Holly Yan And Paradise Afshar, CNN, 24 July 2022 Four new teams compete in a domino toppling and chain reaction tournament with holiday themes; the teams are given custom elements to incorporate into their Rube Goldberg-style topples. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 The revelation of Jennifer’s marital name change ignited a chain reaction of Twitter commentary. Hanna Lustig, Glamour, 21 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chain reaction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of chain reaction

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for chain reaction

Time Traveler

The first known use of chain reaction was in 1892

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Dictionary Entries Near chain reaction

chain-reacting pile

chain reaction

chain reactor

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Statistics for chain reaction

Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chain reaction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for chain reaction

chain reaction


Kids Definition of chain reaction

: a series of events in which each event causes the next one

chain reaction


Medical Definition of chain reaction

: a self-sustaining chemical or nuclear reaction yielding energy or products that cause further reactions of the same kind

More from Merriam-Webster on chain reaction

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chain reaction Encyclopedia article about chain reaction


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