Definition of explode
- explode a theory
- explode a bomb
- dynamite explodes
- exploded in anger
- exploded from the starting gate
- the population of the city exploded
- shrubs exploded with blossoms
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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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.
First Known Use: 1615See Words from the same year
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