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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from explode

exploder noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for explode

Synonyms

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

Antonyms

implode

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Colton, who had just seven extra-base hits and no home runs as a junior, exploded for 12 extra-base hits, 24 RBI, 24 runs scored and a county-leading five long balls in her final high school season. Brent Kennedy, baltimoresun.com, "Hammond senior Liguori finishes on top as Howard County softball Player of Year," 18 June 2019 Now [the Lakers] completely crashed, but at least my son got off the boat before the thing exploded. Alyssa Thomas, BostonGlobe.com, "Alyssa Thomas leads Connecticut Sun to 12th straight win at home," 17 June 2019 In an email statement to Quartz, Nel’s chief executive officer Jon Andre Løkke said that no unit exploded at the site. Echo Huang, Quartz, "A hydrogen fueling station fire in Norway has left fuel-cell cars nowhere to charge," 12 June 2019 As reverse mortgages exploded in popularity from 2001 to 2009, three lenders originated a third of the new loans – nearly 200,000 in all. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 Trump is the tech genius saying Reactor Number Four could not have exploded because that’s his opinion, and no facts can change it, even as chunks of evidence to the contrary rain down around him. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Chernobyl: Devastating Indictment of Socialism, Not Trumpism," 5 June 2019 One year after the the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff in 1986, The New York Times published an article about how the astronauts’ families were coping. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "Flying without a safety net: Early Apollo astronauts were not eligible for life insurance policies while in space," 4 June 2019 Alexievich’s book about Chernobyl was published in Russian in 1997, more than ten years after one of the reactors at the Chernobyl power plant exploded, in what was probably the worst nuclear accident in history. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "What HBO’s “Chernobyl” Got Right, and What It Got Terribly Wrong," 4 June 2019 Boone, more than any other dealer, made the 1980s art scene explode. Town & Country, "Mary Boone Is Taking a Break," 18 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about explode

Statistics for explode

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for explode

The first known use of explode was in 1615

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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