det·o·na·tor | \ˈde-tᵊn-ˌā-tər, -tə-ˌnā-\

Definition of detonator 

: a device or small quantity of explosive used for detonating a high explosive

Examples of detonator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The office said investigators who detained the couple and searched their car found more than a pound of TATP explosives and a detonator. NBC News, "Giuliani attended French event where terror plot thwarted," 2 July 2018 Investigators who detained the couple Saturday and searched their car found more than a pound of TATP explosives and a detonator, federal magistrate Eric Van der Sijpt said. Washington Post, "World Digest: July 2, 2018," 2 July 2018 In the final scene of the episode, Offred wields a pen in her hand, pressing her thumb down upon it much as Ofglen used a detonator to cause so much damage. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Handmaid's Tale' Reacted to Its Most Destructive Moment Yet," 31 May 2018 Investigators who stopped the couple Saturday and searched their car found about half a kilogram (more than a pound) of TATP explosives and a detonator, federal magistrate Eric Van der Sijpt said. Sylvain Plazy, The Seattle Times, "Belgium charges couple with plotting attack on French rally," 2 July 2018 The other man honed a kitchen knife against a stone, sliced off an inchlong fuse, wrapped it in a piece of aluminum and strapped on a match as a detonator. Aurora Almendral, New York Times, "In the Philippines, Dynamite Fishing Decimates Entire Ocean Food Chains," 15 June 2018 Nearly every recap has mentioned Elizabeth Moss' thumb on the red pen at the end of episode seven next to Tattiawa Jones' finger on the detonator on episode 6. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale' Director Kari Skogland on Identity, Easter Eggs & More," 5 June 2018 Where did Leia get the idea to threaten Jabba with a thermal detonator? Dan Gvozden, The Hollywood Reporter, "74 'Star Wars' Questions 'Solo' Insisted on Answering," 1 June 2018 And the bombs themselves are easy to make: ammonium nitrate (a common fertilizer) and diesel fuel are mixed in an empty bottle and topped with a detonator and waterproof fuse, Woodman says. Katherine Kornei, Scientific American, "Gunshot Sensors Pinpoint Destructive “Fish Bombs”," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detonator.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of detonator

1822, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about detonator

Dictionary Entries near detonator








Statistics for detonator

Last Updated

26 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detonator

The first known use of detonator was in 1822

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for detonator



English Language Learners Definition of detonator

: a device that is used to make a bomb explode

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on detonator

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


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!