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 Gravitational waves—ripples in spacetime produced by merging black holes, colliding neutron stars, detonating supernovae and other cosmic cataclysms—have sparked a revolution in astrophysics. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Inside the World's First Underground Gravitational-Wave Detector," 12 Nov. 2019 If those barriers were overcome, U.S forces could disable the weapons by destroying electrical components or detonating their chemical high explosive without causing a nuclear release. Miles A. Pomper, The Conversation, "Where in Turkey are the nuclear bombs stored?," 23 Oct. 2019 The bombing came just hours after a small pipe bomb detonated harmlessly along the route of a Marine Corps charity road race in Seaside Park, New Jersey. David Porter, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New York bomber convicted in shootout with New Jersey police," 8 Oct. 2019 White's Nashville and Detroit based Third Man Records played a huge role in detonating and furthering the last decade's vinyl record resurgence. Matt Wake |, al, "Watch Jack White record at Muscle Shoals’ FAME Studios," 17 Sep. 2019 Rather than detonate, the Raiders will be a slow-burn type of team, completing safe short passes, running the ball with power, then occasionally taking the deep shot. Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Derek Carr stalls, Raiders offense goes stagnant and brutal road stretch awaits," 16 Sep. 2019 Protocols have been developed to ensure weapons cannot be used without authorisation, such as fail-safe mechanisms that mean bombs do not detonate if they are dropped prematurely. The Economist, "Artificial intelligence and war," 5 Sep. 2019 It was detonated on the morning of March 1, 1954, and was 1,000 times more powerful than either of the bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Susanne Rust,, "Radioactivity in parts of the Marshall Islands is far higher than Chernobyl, study says," 15 July 2019 Moments later, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated outside the entrance to the event, a quarter-mile away, killing 26 people and wounding more than 30. Washington Post, "Taliban suicide bombers strike Kabul and rally for Afghan president, killing at least 48," 17 Sep. 2019

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

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for detonate

The first known use of detonate was in 1729

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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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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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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