explode

verb
ex·​plode | \ ik-ˈsplōd How to pronounce explode (audio) \
exploded; exploding

Definition of explode

intransitive verb

1 : to burst forth with sudden violence or noise from internal energy: such as
a : to undergo a rapid chemical or nuclear reaction with the production of noise, heat, and violent expansion of gases dynamite explodes
b : to burst violently as a result of pressure from within
2a : to give forth a sudden strong and noisy outburst of emotion exploded in anger
b : to move with sudden speed and force exploded from the starting gate
3 : to increase rapidly the population of the city exploded
4 : to suggest an explosion (as in appearance or effect) shrubs exploded with blossoms

transitive verb

1 : to cause to explode or burst noisily explode a bomb
2 : to bring into disrepute or discredit explode a theory
3 archaic : to drive from the stage by noisy disapproval

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Other Words from explode

exploder noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for explode

Synonyms

blow, blow up, burst, crump, detonate, go off, pop

Antonyms

implode

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Did You Know?

Theatergoers in ancient Rome could be noisy in showing both their enjoyment and their dislike of a performance. One of the ways they made noise was by clapping their hands loudly. The Latin verb plaudere meant “to make a noise by loud clapping.” When Romans were showing their approval of a performance, the word used was applaudere, from which we get our English word applaud. When Romans did not like a performance, they often drove the performer from the stage by loud claps. The word for this was explodere or explaudere, from the prefix ex-, meaning “out, away,” and plaudere. From this word we get our English word explode. At first, explode meant “to drive from the stage by a noisy expression of dislike,” but this sense has all but disappeared.

Examples of explode in a Sentence

One of the shells failed to explode. These occasional skirmishes may soon explode into all-out war. The birds suddenly exploded into flight. The building exploded in flames. She looked like she was ready to explode with anger.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This was July 1986, just six months after the space shuttle Challenger exploded on live TV, taking the lives of seven astronauts. Wilson Rothman, WSJ, "We Were Promised Space Colonies. What Went Wrong?," 14 Mar. 2019 Roughly the size of Singapore, the lake occupies a caldera formed 26,500 years ago, when the Taupo supervolcano exploded in the most violent eruption on earth in the past, oh, 70,000 years. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "We Should All Just Move to New Zealand," 17 Jan. 2019 The New York Police Department pulled nearly 3,000 body cameras off the streets after one exploded inside a Staten Island precinct early Sunday. Fox News, "NYPD pulls 3,000 body cams off street after one exploded," 22 Oct. 2018 The Boston Globe reported that 18-year-old Leonel Rondon, of Lawrence, located approximately 30 miles north of Boston, was sitting in his car when a nearby house exploded, launching its chimney on top of his vehicle. Sarah Mearhoff, Teen Vogue, "Massachusetts Gas Line Explosions Collapsed a Chimney on 18-Year-Old Leonel Rondon's Car, Killing Him," 14 Sep. 2018 That’s when the island of 12,000 year-round residents explodes to more than 50,000. Todd Wallack, BostonGlobe.com, "For some State Police, it’s a posting in paradise," 14 July 2018 Until late last month, police say, when his anger exploded in shotgun blasts in the Annapolis newsroom of The Capital. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "Capital Gazette shooting suspect's anger flared, and fell silent. Then, police say, it exploded," 8 July 2018 One of the streets, Trinity Drive, is named after the Trinity test, when the world’s first atomic bomb exploded in 1945, some 200 miles to the south. Michael Cooper, New York Times, "Bringing ‘Doctor Atomic’ to the Birthplace of the Bomb," 6 July 2018 An American woman killed after a boat exploded Saturday in the Bahamas has been identified by her family, while another American woman underwent a double leg amputation after suffering severe injuries in the blast. Eli Meixler, Time, "One American Was Killed and Another Underwent a Double Leg Amputation After a Boat Exploded in the Bahamas," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'explode.' 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 explode

1615, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for explode

Latin explodere to drive off the stage by clapping, from ex- + plaudere to clap

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Statistics for explode

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for explode

The first known use of explode was in 1615

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More Definitions for explode

explode

verb

English Language Learners Definition of explode

: to suddenly break apart in a violent way with parts flying outward
: to change in a very sudden and violent way
: to move with sudden speed and force

explode

verb
ex·​plode | \ ik-ˈsplōd How to pronounce explode (audio) \
exploded; exploding

Kids Definition of explode

1 : to burst or cause to burst with violence and noise The bomb exploded.
2 : to suddenly show or say with great emotion He exploded with anger.

explode

verb
ex·​plode | \ ik-ˈsplōd How to pronounce explode (audio) \
exploded; exploding

Medical Definition of explode

transitive verb

: to cause to explode or burst noisily explode a bomb

intransitive verb

: to undergo a rapid chemical or nuclear reaction with the production of noise, heat, and violent expansion of gases

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More from Merriam-Webster on explode

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with explode

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for explode

Spanish Central: Translation of explode

Nglish: Translation of explode for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of explode for Arabic Speakers

Comments on explode

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