det·​o·​nate | \ ˈde-tᵊn-ˌāt How to pronounce detonate (audio) , ˈde-tə-ˌnāt\
detonated; detonating

Definition of detonate

intransitive verb

: to explode with sudden violence

transitive verb

1 : to cause to detonate detonate a bomb — compare deflagrate
2 : to set off in a burst of activity : spark programs that detonated controversies

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Other Words from detonate

detonatable \ ˈde-​tᵊn-​ˌā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce detonatable (audio) , ˈde-​tə-​ˌnā-​ \ adjective
detonative \ ˈde-​tᵊn-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce detonative (audio) , ˈde-​tə-​ˌnā-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for detonate


blow, blow up, burst, crump, explode, go off, pop



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Examples of detonate in a Sentence

The first atomic bomb was detonated in 1945. the bomb detonated with a thunder that could be heard for blocks in all directions

Recent Examples on the Web

Since May 12, a half-dozen oil tankers have been punctured by explosions, and on June 13 an Iranian military vessel was photographed retrieving a mine that had failed to detonate. Karl Vick, Time, "If Neither Trump Nor Iran Want War, What Do They Want Instead?," 20 June 2019 Federal prosecutors cited wiretap evidence and an interview of ‘Isa in linking him to the Tunisian terror network that used a suicide bomber to detonate an explosives-laden truck outside the U.S. base in Mosul in April 2009. Washington Post, "Groups sue over notes about Putin meeting," 19 June 2019 Federal prosecutors cited wiretap evidence and an interview of ‘Isa in linking him to the Tunisian terror network that used a suicide bomber to detonate an explosives-laden truck outside the U.S. base in Mosul. Jim Mustian, USA TODAY, "Canadian citizen gets 26 years after US soldiers killed in Iraq suicide attack," 19 June 2019 State transportation officials decided the thing to do was to detonate 20 cases of dynamite under the whale, hoping to blast the whole thing into small pieces that could be eaten by sea gulls. New York Times, "A Beached Whale Needs Somewhere to Rot. How About Your Place?," 17 June 2019 In 2010, Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen who had gotten explosives training in Pakistan, tried but failed to detonate a car bomb there. Fox News, "Man sought guns, grenades for Times Square attack, feds say," 8 June 2019 In 2010, Pakistani immigrant Faisal Shahzad attempted to detonate a bomb in Times Square, which did not go off. NBC News, "Man under surveillance discussed setting off explosive device in Times Square, sources say," 7 June 2019 This petite wolf subspecies, weighing around 45 pounds, is not heavy enough to detonate the Golan’s explosives, and has made the war zone their home. Josh Adler, National Geographic, "Making peace in the Golan Heights—between humans and wolves," 11 Apr. 2019 This would allow a SWAT team, for example, to detonate one on a passenger jet in close proximity to hostages with minimal chance of death or injury. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Rectangular, Computerized Grenade Puts a New Spin on the Flashbang," 28 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detonate.' 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 detonate

1729, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for detonate

French détoner to explode, from Latin detonare to expend thunder, from de- + tonare to thunder — more at thunder entry 1

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Statistics for detonate

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detonate

The first known use of detonate was in 1729

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English Language Learners Definition of detonate

: to explode or to cause (something, such as a bomb) to explode

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More from Merriam-Webster on detonate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with detonate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for detonate

Spanish Central: Translation of detonate

Nglish: Translation of detonate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of detonate for Arabic Speakers

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