electromagnetic pulse


: a pulse of high-intensity electromagnetic radiation generated especially by a nuclear blast high above the earth's surface and held to disrupt electronic and electrical systems
Any nuclear bomb detonated high above the atmosphere bathes the area below in a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that is likely to burn out delicate electronic chips, transistors, computers and power and communication systems. The pulse happens at the speed of light, covering an entire continent.William Broad
abbreviation EMP

Examples of electromagnetic pulse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion would fry the electronic components of many satellites in the vicinity, rendering them useless. Aaron Bateman, Foreign Affairs, 7 Mar. 2024 Near-term solutions that can help protect vital infrastructure from solar and electromagnetic pulse threats are promising and need to be applied. Chuck Brooks, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 This protects the devices inside the bag from cyberattacks, data hacking, and tracking, as well as natural or deliberate electromagnetic pulse (EMP) signals that can damage or destroy any electronic device. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 20 July 2023 The complex, operated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is thought by intelligence analysts to house research and development centers for laser weapons capable of attacking US satellites, as well as test facilities for ballistic missiles, electromagnetic pulse research—and balloons. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 1 May 2023 While regular magnetic media can decay and be destroyed through a number of environmental factors such as EMP (electromagnetic pulse), water damage, heat, or abrasion, glass is not affected by EMP or water damage and is resilient to heat and abrasion. Adrian Bridgwater, Forbes, 3 June 2021 A lot of things could destroy the web: hackers, a loss of faith in government as a protector of wealth, a liquidity crisis, an electromagnetic pulse. William Baldwin, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 This is called an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 9 July 2012 Among various innovations that turn it into a floating Oval Office, the two planes are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), such as that emitted from a nuclear blast, that can down other aircrafts by frying their onboard electronics. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 28 Apr. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'electromagnetic pulse.' 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

1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of electromagnetic pulse was in 1951

Dictionary Entries Near electromagnetic pulse

Cite this Entry

“Electromagnetic pulse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/electromagnetic%20pulse. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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