det·​o·​nate | \ ˈde-tᵊn-ˌāt, 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 \ -​ˌā-​tə-​bəl , -​ˌnā-​ \ adjective
detonative \ ˈde-​tᵊn-​ˌā-​tiv , 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

The grenade set off a thunderous secondary explosion, perhaps by detonating the dud, a suicide vest or other munitions the Taliban stored in the tunnel. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "‘I Think I’ve Been Shot’: Nighttime Raid in Afghanistan Reveals New U.S. Strategy," 5 Dec. 2018 Another activity the Navy has agreed to restrict is shock testing, in which several tons of explosives are detonated underwater near a new warship to test its durability in wartime. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Navy Is Limiting Noisier Activities to Protect an Endangered Whale," 15 Nov. 2018 There’s no evidence of any actual explosives being placed or detonated, but the threats provoked evacuations and law enforcement investigations across the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Facebook wants you to buy — and watch — HBO on Facebook," 14 Dec. 2018 The rocket detonated during a routine pre-flight test after the rocket had been fueled—no one was injured. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX and NASA Reach Agreement on Astronaut Safety," 20 Aug. 2018 On May 22, 2017, a single suicide bomber detonated a bomb at the Manchester Arena, where Grande held a concert., "Ariana Grande Not Amused By Pete Davidson's "Unfortunate" Manchester Joke," 5 July 2018 The Asheville Police hazardous device team detonated the bomb, reported WYFF, the NBC-TV affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Man finds pipe bomb in popular North Carolina mountain swimming hole," 2 July 2018 In the other two incidents, M-1000s were detonated in ATMs in establishments just blocks apart in Hunting Park on June 8 and on Monday. Joseph A. Gambardello,, "Would-be robbers blow open ATM with explosive device in Kensington," 21 June 2018 Though smaller than many warheads, a 250-kiloton bomb, detonated in the air, would create a larger shock wave and fireball than a ground explosion. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018

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

12 Jan 2019

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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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