ther·​mo·​bar·​ic ˌthər-mə-ˈbär-ik How to pronounce thermobaric (audio)
of a weapon
: containing a charge of fuel designed to ignite and combine with oxygen present in the atmosphere to produce a prolonged explosion
Rather than fight their way into such caverns, U.S. forces have preferred to drop specialized … weapons, including thermobaric bombs that emit clouds of powdered fuel and ignite them, sending waves of heat and pressure through caverns and depleting the oxygen inside.Peter Baker and Pamela Constable

Examples of thermobaric in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As the Russian military continues to fail in its efforts to conquer Ukraine, Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of turning to attacks against the civilian population and the use of weapons like cluster bombs and thermobaric munitions on residential areas. Mick Mulroy, ABC News, 6 Mar. 2022 Amnesty International said international humanitarian law prohibits the use of inherently indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions and thermobaric weapons. Gabriela Miranda, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2022 The 96-second video shows four attack runs in which the drone flies over Russian positions, dropping what are described as thermobaric bombs. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, 7 June 2023 The weapons, also known as thermobaric or vacuum bombs, explode in two stages, creating a blast wave that lasts longer than those of conventional explosives. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 12 May 2023 Which, of course, might be why the Ukrainians were able to hit the thermobaric launcher. David Axe, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2023 Concerns expressed by other Russian politicians regarding the long-term health impact on Ukraine are especially risible after Russia’s military has rained clouds of incendiary thermite on populated areas and employed thermobaric weapons with massive lethal blast radiuses in cities. Popular Mechanics, 29 Mar. 2023 The Russian arsenal has included thermite munitions, which rain down thousands of burning chemical pellets capable of melting steel, and thermobaric weapons, which release a cloud of fuel that a subsequent charge ignites, creating a vacuum of vaporizing heat and pressure. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 23 July 2022 The thermobaric weapon now in use in the war in the east — called a Tos-1 but nicknamed Solntsepek, or Sunshine — was fired into Lyman on Tuesday, according to a drone video posted online by Ukrainian officials that showed huge fireballs bursting with the incoming rockets. New York Times, 27 May 2022 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Russian termobaricheskiy, from termo- thermo- + -baricheskiy, as in izobaricheskiy isobaric

First Known Use

1999, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of thermobaric was in 1999

Dictionary Entries Near thermobaric

Cite this Entry

“Thermobaric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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