det·​o·​na·​tor ˈde-tᵊn-ˌā-tər How to pronounce detonator (audio)
: a device or small quantity of explosive used for detonating a high explosive

Examples of detonator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On June 19, all six men began the tedious work of shifting the explosives, detonators and other supplies into final position and readying them for use. Myke Cole and Michael Livingston, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 The pipe bombs, which had an hour-long kitchen timer as a detonator, were viable, but didn’t detonate and no one was hurt, the FBI said. Brie Stimson, Fox News, 6 Jan. 2024 In the Iraq war in the 2000s, the United States used gadgets called jammers to create so much radio noise that improvised explosive devices could not communicate with their remote detonators. Aaron Krolik, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 The launch was initially grounded following an investigation into the first orbital launch test for the Starship and Super Heavy booster in April, which burst into flames and fired detonators to self-destruct about four minutes into its flight. Jess Weatherbed, The Verge, 15 Nov. 2023 This is especially evident in their opening mission, in which Barney Ross (Stallone), Lee Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the Expendables crew attempt to retrieve a set of nuclear detonators from a crafty thief, Rahmat (Iko Uwais), who has stolen them from Kadafi’s compound in Libya. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2023 The last Boba had seen of Valance, the cyborg bounty hunter had been facing down the wrong end of a thermal detonator, his purpose served in helping Boba get to Solo faster. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2023 The suspect had purchased tactical equipment, wiring, chemicals and devices often used as remote detonators. Cbs News Philadelphia Staff, CBS News, 14 Aug. 2023 Maryland bomb technicians investigated the scene and determined the items were blasting caps, which are also known as detonators. Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 2 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1822, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of detonator was in 1822

Dictionary Entries Near detonator

Cite this Entry

“Detonator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


det·​o·​na·​tor ˈdet-ᵊn-ˌāt-ər How to pronounce detonator (audio)
: a device or small quantity of explosive used for detonating another explosive

More from Merriam-Webster on detonator

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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