high explosive


Definition of high explosive 

: an explosive (such as TNT) that generates gas with extreme rapidity and has a shattering effect

Examples of high explosive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Kinzhal reportedly has a range of 1,200 miles, can attack ground or naval targets, and packs a nuclear or conventional high explosive warhead. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Aging Bomber Could Sling Mach 10 Missiles," 5 July 2018 On the 39-square-mile campus are high explosives and plutonium, global security operations with nonproliferation and counter-proliferation divisions, and ongoing technology and engineering research. Los Alamos employs more than 11,400 people. Lindsay Ellis, Houston Chronicle, "Texas A&M-affiliated team gets Los Alamos contract," 8 June 2018 On most days, mortar crews at the outpost lob dozens of rounds of high explosives and white-phosphorous smoke into the mountains, either to kill Islamic State fighters or just to discourage them from settling in. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "Green Berets Brace for Islamic State Offensive in Afghanistan," 15 May 2018 Most bombings use what is called a low explosive, something like black powder, instead of a high explosive like dynamite. Ali Watkins, New York Times, "Anatomy of a Bomb Investigation: Inside an A.T.F. Lab," 1 Apr. 2018 This 2,000-pound Mk84 bomb comes loaded with a mix of high explosive and white phosphorus. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "These Are Syria's Chemical Weapons. Here's How To Destroy Them," 13 Apr. 2018 Javelin will cause Russian forces to plaster likely missile positions with high explosive, cluster munition, and thermobaric artillery fire prior to any tank attack. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Is Sending Deadly Javelin Missiles to Ukraine," 2 Jan. 2018 One of the deadliest single episodes of the war for civilians took place last May, when a gigantic truck bomb estimated to contain two metric tons of high explosives went off on a Kabul street during rush hour, killing 92 and wounding 491 people. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, "More Afghan Civilians Being Deliberately Targeted, U.N. Says," 15 Feb. 2018 Five days earlier, stevedores in Brooklyn had finished loading her with a staggering 6 million pounds of high explosives, 13 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty. Time, "When This City Was Devastated by a Massive Explosion, Its Children Found the Christmas Spirit," 21 Dec. 2017

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

1877, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about high explosive

Share high explosive

Statistics for high explosive

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for high explosive

The first known use of high explosive was in 1877

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on high explosive

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about high explosive

Comments on high explosive

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


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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