ki·​lo·​ton | \ ˈki-lə-ˌtən How to pronounce kiloton (audio) , ˈkē-lə- also -ˌtän \

Definition of kiloton

1 : 1000 tons
2 : an explosive force equivalent to that of 1000 tons of TNT

Examples of kiloton in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That’s enough to flatten a city or industrial target: by comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was just 16 kilotons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A New and Controversial U.S. Nuclear Weapon Goes to Sea," 30 Jan. 2020 Current American bombs can range from 50 to 1,200 kilotons, so the explosion would be that much bigger. Fox News, "What happens in a nuclear apocalypse?," 13 Feb. 2020 The first test, Able, was a 23 kiloton atomic bomb dropped from a B-29 bomber and set to explode at 1,500 to 2,000 feet. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Nearly 75 Years Later, Scientists Map the Craters Created by Underwater Nuclear Tests," 12 Dec. 2019 The Castle Bravo bomb was exponentially more powerful than previous tests, and had an estimated yield of 15 megatons—or 15,000 kilotons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Nearly 75 Years Later, Scientists Map the Craters Created by Underwater Nuclear Tests," 12 Dec. 2019 By comparison, the yield of the Hiroshima bomb was just 15 kilotons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S.'s Aging 'Nuclear Coffin' Is an Ecological Disaster Waiting To Happen," 20 May 2019 North Korea’s first nuclear test took place in 2006 and had a estimated yield of .7 to 2 kilotons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "North Korea's Latest Nuclear Test Was More Powerful Than We Thought," 5 June 2019 Earlier this year, it was announced that in late 2018, a space rock had exploded above the Earth's surface with an impact energy of 173 kilotons. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A City-Killing Asteroid Got Uncomfortably Close to Earth," 30 July 2019 The resulting shock wave was as powerful as a 550 kiloton nuclear explosion—and the Tunguska object was probably much larger. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New research on Tunguska finds such events happen less often than we thought," 17 July 2019

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

1950, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kiloton

Time Traveler for kiloton

Time Traveler

The first known use of kiloton was in 1950

See more words from the same year

Statistics for kiloton

Cite this Entry

“Kiloton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on kiloton Encyclopedia article about kiloton

Comments on kiloton

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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