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



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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 My classmate’s older brother, 28-year-old Greg Riewer, was killed in 2007 in Habbaniyah, Iraq, near Fallujah, when an improvised explosive device detonated. Samantha Laine Perfas, The Christian Science Monitor, "Sacrifice, reconciliation, hope: Readers reflect on Memorial Day," 21 May 2020 As a consequence of its long and remote itinerary, the Quest was in unintentional self-quarantine when the coronavirus panic detonated across the cruise industry in early March. John Branch, New York Times, "Fly Him to the Moon. Or at Least, Fly Him Home.," 3 May 2020 The team that detonates the bomb the fastest becomes the Tribunal of Four. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "The Challenge: Total Madness recap: A brutal headbanger elimination results in injury," 30 Apr. 2020 A decade of peace following nearly 30 years of civil war was shattered earlier this year when homegrown militants pledging loyalty to the Islamic State group detonated suicide bombs at three churches and three hotels on April 21., "The Muslims attacked Saturday were part of a convoy organized by Premadasa’s supporters taking them back to vote in the northern district of Mannar. Many Muslims fled the area in 1982, when the Tamil insurgency began to grow, and others were evicted from the north in 1990.," 17 Nov. 2019 The dog was chasing al-Baghdadi down a dead end tunnel when the ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children. NBC News, "Trump releases photo of hero dog injured in al-Baghdadi raid," 28 Oct. 2019 In 2010, at least 42 people were killed as suicide attackers detonated car bombs near embassies in Baghdad., "This day in history," 4 Apr. 2020 In the scenario above a pair of Invictus choppers locate and destroy a battery of S-400 long-range air defense missiles, with the operation ending with the drones colliding with their targets and detonating explosive warheads. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Army’s New Recon Chopper Is Beginning To Take Shape," 26 Mar. 2020 And there was the one-timer on the power play Jan. 1, a goal that gave the Stars a lead in the Winter Classic against Nashville and detonated a celebration of 85,000 fans at the Cotton Bowl. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Droughts have hit Stars’ top forwards this season, but Alexander Radulov’s goalless streak is different," 4 Mar. 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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Detonate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for detonate


How to pronounce detonate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of detonate

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

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