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

Synonyms & Antonyms for detonate



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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 voice, more insistent, announced that the vehicle would detonate. New York Times, "Behind the Nashville Bombing, a Conspiracy Theorist Stewing About the Government," 24 Feb. 2021 His doubt haunts Toller, who takes steps toward carrying out a plan to detonate the suicide vest Michael left behind and kill the CEO of a major polluter at a church service. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "The 101 Greatest Endings in Movies History," 22 Feb. 2021 The West African nation was deep into a four-year conflict with Islamist extremists who targeted military camps and were known to detonate suicide blasts. Washington Post, "An American moved to Burkina Faso for ‘a better life.’ He was shot dead outside a military base.," 1 Dec. 2020 The top-ranking official added that the recording, which warned that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes, leads investigators to believe Warner was not interested in hurting others. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, "Nashville bombing investigators probe 5G 'paranoia' as possible motive, reports say," 29 Dec. 2020 The explosion came on Friday morning after Nashville police officers responding to a complaint about gunfire encountered an R.V. parked on Second Avenue North blaring a message that a bomb was about to detonate. New York Times, "Federal Agents Scour Home as They Hunt for Clues in Nashville Blast," 26 Dec. 2020 Crews at a portable operations center up to 35 miles away then detonate the charge, destroying the mine for good. Popular Science, "The most significant security innovations of 2020," 2 Dec. 2020 One of them was found with a cellphone that may have been meant to detonate it. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Pipe bombs found outside DNC and RNC contained timing devices: Report," 8 Jan. 2021 Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard's contract contains an opt out after this season that could detonate any chance the Clippers have of a championship future if Leonard is unhappy after this season. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "As NBA season begins, stars — and drama — again tell the story," 21 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for detonate Time Traveler

The first known use of detonate was in 1729

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Statistics for detonate

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Detonate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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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