mega·​ton ˈme-gə-ˌtən How to pronounce megaton (audio)
: an explosive force equivalent to that of one million tons of TNT

Examples of megaton in a Sentence

an atomic explosion with a force of several megatons
Recent Examples on the Web The airline industry spews about 800 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, roughly 2 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Miranda Lipton, Discover Magazine, 23 May 2024 The country’s capacity to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is tiny in comparison now — in the low single-digit megatons so far. Justine Calma, The Verge, 11 Apr. 2024 The production of coal, oil, natural gas and cement combined for around 30,000 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in 2022 alone. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Apr. 2024 By her calculations, even an area the size of London could grow enough seaweed to sequester ten megatons of carbon dioxide per year. Saima May Sidik, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Jan. 2024 The sources of this electrical power released over 85 megatons of carbon dioxide. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 30 Oct. 2023 Every year, krill remove as much as 23 megatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to new research published by the World Wildlife Fund. Joshua Goodman, Fortune, 13 Oct. 2023 Increases in weapons’ explosive power required the creation of new metrics: from kilotons (equivalent to the energy released by 1,000 tons of TNT) for the original fission weapons to megatons (equivalent to that released by one million tons) for hydrogen fusion bombs. Henry A. Kissinger, Foreign Affairs, 13 Oct. 2023 The global carbon dioxide release rate from rock organic carbon weathering was found to be 68 megatons of carbon per year, a bit more than the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during heating and cooling buildings in extreme weather in the US in 2022. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 5 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'megaton.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of megaton was in 1952

Dictionary Entries Near megaton

Cite this Entry

“Megaton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


mega·​ton ˈmeg-ə-ˌtən How to pronounce megaton (audio)
: an explosive force equal to that of one million tons of TNT

More from Merriam-Webster on megaton

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