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

The operatives in the boats then likely removed their divers and detonated the bombs all within one hour of each other — before anyone knew what was happening. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Oil tanker sabotage likely the work of 'state actor,' investigation concludes," 7 June 2019 Then the hail of bombs hit the invasion coasts, smashing gun positions, detonating strings of mines, touching off a fury of explosions from blazing ammunition dumps, chewing up telephone communications. Time, "Inside General Eisenhower’s Sleepless Night Ahead of the D-Day Invasion," 6 June 2019 The eight men and one woman who detonated bombs on Easter Sunday, killing themselves and more than 250 others, were a collection of Islamist radicals including a quiet truck driver and a foreign-educated engineer. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Sri Lanka Identifies All Nine Easter Bombers," 1 May 2019 But what most empowers 19-year-old Marifer Culman Ortiz is detonating land mines. Megan Janetsky, Teen Vogue, "Meet the Women Who Detonate Land Mines in Colombia’s Former War Zones," 24 Apr. 2019 Correction posted September 11, 2009 The original version of this story contained a reference to an attacker who detonated a suicide bomb near a Saudi prince, and said the man graduated from Saudi Arabia’s terrorism rehabilitation program. The Christian Science Monitor, "Corrections," 4 Mar. 2019 Fifteen people were injured Thursday night when two men detonated an improvised explosive device inside an Indian restaurant in Mississauga, Ontario, Canadian authorities said. Dave Quinn,, "Explosion at Indian Restaurant in Canada Injures 15, 2 Men Wanted," 25 May 2018 In those attacks, the family's two young daughters, aged 9 and 12, were present when their mother detonated one of the bombs, and the couple's two teenage sons carried out a separate attack on another church. Devianti Faridz And Euan Mckirdy, CNN, "Surabaya hit with another attack in wake of church bombings," 13 May 2018 But in the coming months, a fusion of granite, bronze, and glass will take shape there, memorials to mark the location where two bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon five years ago. David Abel,, "Islands up north? In New Brunswick, there’s plenty to explore," 12 Apr. 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

15 Jun 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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