archaic: to drive from the stage by noisy disapproval
Did you know?
Theatergoers in ancient Rome could be noisy in showing both their enjoyment and their dislike of a performance. One of the ways they made noise was by clapping their hands loudly. The Latin verb plaudere meant “to make a noise by loud clapping.” When Romans were showing their approval of a performance, the word used was applaudere, from which we get our English word applaud. When Romans did not like a performance, they often drove the performer from the stage by loud claps. The word for this was explodere or explaudere, from the prefix ex-, meaning “out, away,” and plaudere. From this word we get our English word explode. At first, explode meant “to drive from the stage by a noisy expression of dislike,” but this sense has all but disappeared.
One of the shells failed to explode.
These occasional skirmishes may soon explode into all-out war.
The birds suddenly exploded into flight.
The building exploded in flames.
She looked like she was ready to explode with anger.
Recent Examples on the WebThe risk that this could explode into a regional conflict is high.—Yaakov Katz, WSJ, 20 Nov. 2023 But the situation has exploded in the last six weeks.—Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Nov. 2023 By contrast, the first Starship launch badly damaged the launch site; several engines on the booster failed, fires knocked out the steering of the rocket and the flight termination system took too long to explode.—Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 18 Nov. 2023 Cudi’s car exploded in his driveway around that time.—Evan Minsker, Pitchfork, 16 Nov. 2023 The scene is full of guts and bone made out of felt, and red confetti exploding everywhere.—Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 15 Nov. 2023 Some of those performances sparked viral critique about her stage presence, a growing point of contention for many artists whose careers began and exploded within the confines of the pandemic.—Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2023 Since war exploded in Israel, last month, the Navy has sent two carrier strike groups and an amphibious assault ship to the Mediterranean.—Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2023 Not only was the movie a massive hit, grossing almost $347 million at the box office, but its soundtrack also exploded in popularity.—Keith Langston, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'explode.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Latin explodere to drive off the stage by clapping, from ex- + plaudere to clap
: to burst or cause to burst with violence and noise
the boiler exploded
: to go through a rapid chemical or nuclear reaction with the production of noise, heat, and violent expansion of gases
the bomb exploded
: to burst forth
exploded with laughter
zoomed out of the alley and exploded into the street
from Latin explaudere "to drive off the stage by clapping," from ex- "out, away" and plaudere "to clap" — related to applaud, plaudit, plausible see Word History at plausible
Theatergoers in ancient Rome could be noisy in showing both their enjoyment and their dislike of a performance. One of the ways they made noise was by clapping their hands loudly. The Latin verb plaudere meant "to make a noise by loud clapping." When the Romans were showing their approval of a performance, the word used was applaudere, from which we get our English word applaud. When the Romans did not like a performance, they often drove the performer from the stage by loud claps. The word for this was explaudere, from the prefix ex-, meaning "out, away," and plaudere. It is from this word that we get our English word explode. In the beginning, the English word explode had the meaning "to drive from the stage by a noisy expression of dislike." But this sense has all but disappeared. Other meanings that have either the idea of disapproval or the idea of violent noise have since come into wide use.