detonate

verb

det·​o·​nate ˈde-tᵊn-ˌāt How to pronounce detonate (audio)
ˈde-tə-ˌnāt
detonated; detonating

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
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

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 Sometimes, a relationship can detonate in spectacles of pure id—ravenous infidelity, screaming arguments, sobbing in bar bathrooms, 200 texts per hour—eventually leaving both ends of the partnership feeling raw, extreme, and ideally, free. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 5 July 2024 The Broward Sheriff’s Office bomb squad on Monday detonated the M80s, a common explosive found in consumer-grade fireworks, to demonstrate the catastrophic effects. Lauren Ferrer, Sun Sentinel, 1 July 2024 Militants detonate bombs at Shiite shrines, the Islamic State kills thirty soldiers at a desert station, Israeli missiles paralyze the country’s airports. John Ganz, Harper's Magazine, 22 May 2024 In the 1910s, bombs detonated with regularity at nonunion construction sites — bridges, viaducts, rail yards, foundries, derricks — and proved an effective tactic in winning union contracts. Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for detonate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'detonate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French détoner to explode, from Latin detonare to expend thunder, from de- + tonare to thunder — more at thunder entry 1

First Known Use

1729, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of detonate was in 1729

Dictionary Entries Near detonate

Cite this Entry

“Detonate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detonate. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

detonate

verb
det·​o·​nate ˈdet-ᵊn-ˌāt How to pronounce detonate (audio)
ˈdet-ə-ˌnāt
detonated; detonating
: to explode or cause to explode with sudden violence
detonation
ˌdet-ᵊn-ˈā-shən
ˌdet-ə-ˈnā-
noun

More from Merriam-Webster on detonate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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