time bomb


Definition of time bomb 

1 : a bomb so made as to explode at a predetermined time

2 : something with a potentially dangerous or detrimental delayed reaction

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of time bomb in a Sentence

He's a time bomb getting ready to explode. If we don't do something about the pollution problem, we'll be sitting on a ticking time bomb.

Recent Examples on the Web

Philadelphia faces an unprecedented crisis, a time bomb ticking away in our schools. Katrina Clark, Philly.com, "There is money to fix our schools. Here is where to find it | Opinion," 17 May 2018 Looking at stats on home value and household wealth suggest a bit of a demographic time bomb. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Senior housing: Older Americans face affordability, accessibility challenges," 14 Nov. 2018 There’s a car chase, ticking time bombs, a lady love interest (the only one in the series), and enough revenge schemes to fuel a whole season of television. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Review: Yakuza Kiwami 2 gets cleaned up for PS4," 28 Aug. 2018 Giuliani's attempt to defuse a ticking time bomb exposed Trump's failure to divulge the full story about the Daniels hush money and highlighted contradictory public statements from him and White House spokesmen. chicagotribune.com, "'I was going to get this over with': Inside Rudy Giuliani's explosive Stormy Daniels revelation," 3 May 2018 California fault line is 'tectonic time bomb' for disastrous earthquake, researchers say. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Intense manhunt in Waffle House shooting; Trump to play hardball with North Korea," 23 Apr. 2018 The more intractable danger is a demographic time bomb already starting to detonate across South Korea and all over East Asia. Brook Larmer, New York Times, "South Korea’s Most Dangerous Enemy: Demographics," 20 Feb. 2018 Having promised public workers big pensions without saving the money to pay them, many of these states are fiscal time bombs. Arthur Laffer, WSJ, "The Court Tosses Blue States a Life Jacket," 10 July 2018 From April: Rampant opioid injection: 'A ticking time bomb' that puts nation at risk Against this backdrop, many schools and community groups turn to speakers with real-life experience, hoping their cautionary tales will resonate with kids. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "Do those real-life addiction stories really keep kids off drugs?," 12 July 2018

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

1893, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about time bomb

Statistics for time bomb

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for time bomb

The first known use of time bomb was in 1893

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for time bomb

time bomb


English Language Learners Definition of time bomb

: a bomb that is set to explode at a particular moment

: a person or situation that will probably become dangerous or harmful in the future

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on time bomb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with time bomb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for time bomb

Spanish Central: Translation of time bomb

Comments on time bomb

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


a typical or ideal example

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

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!