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

He and two other Marines were killed when an improvised explosive device in a vehicle detonated near Bagram Air Field, officials said. Katie Honan, WSJ, "NYC Firefighter Killed in Afghanistan Blast Remembered for His Bravery," 9 Apr. 2019 Drones loaded with explosives detonated during a speech find Nicolas Maduro. Fox News, "Gutfeld: Be nicer. It will drive your enemies nuts," 5 Aug. 2018 The package that detonated in Beaumont exploded on the front steps of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Evan Perez, CNN, "Suspect arrested in package bombing of Texas church, source says," 25 May 2018 Travelers have not been targeted in these crimes, but a bomb that detonated in February on a ferry linking Playa del Carmen with the island of Cozumel, a popular cruise port, injured more than two dozen passengers, including tourists. New York Times, "Despite Violence, Tourism Is Strong in Mexican Resort Areas," 27 Apr. 2018 Bomb squad members detonated one of the devices and, as of 4:45 p.m., were still investigating the other three, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Alene Tchekmedyian,, "Possible explosives found during traffic stop in Woodland Hills, spurring evacuations," 21 May 2018 The soldier grabbed Nayeb, who detonated an explosive vest beneath his clothes. Russ Bynum, The Seattle Times, "US soldier wounded in suicide attack sues bomber’s employer," 20 Feb. 2019 The bomb had already been detonated by Slimane, who took the reins in 2012 and radically changed almost every aspect of the brand. Alexandra Marshall, WSJ, "Exclusive: Step Inside YSL’s New Parisian Headquarters," 15 Feb. 2019 At least 17 people have died after a tear-gas canister was detonated inside a nightclub in Caracas, Venezuela on Saturday, June 16, CNN reports. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Tear-Gas Explosion Causes Stampede at Venezuela Nightclub," 17 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

18 May 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

Comments on detonate

What made you want to look up detonate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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