Definition of bomb in English:

bomb

noun

  • 1A container filled with explosive or incendiary material, designed to explode on impact or when detonated by a timing, proximity, or remote-control device:

    [as modifier] ‘a bomb attack’
    • ‘He would fill the cores of bombs with explosives, and part of his job was to go to the aboveground nuclear tests in Nevada.’
    • ‘The majority of guerrilla attacks on US occupation forces have been carried out by remotely detonated bombs or rocket-propelled grenades.’
    • ‘A bomb or grenade also exploded on the road during the shooting, but caused no casualties.’
    • ‘He said the bomb was detonated by remote control.’
    • ‘But even the remote controlled bombs are not the perfect weapon.’
    • ‘There have been a total of 35 shooting attacks, and 13 bombs exploded.’
    • ‘It is why they blow up big bombs in civilian crowds.’
    • ‘The court heard that the bomb contained high explosives that were normally used for mining explosions in Northern Ireland.’
    • ‘In the warehouse, Morriss's trap detonated, and a bomb exploded.’
    • ‘The dirty bomb was made from a material called radioactive zirconium which was packed into a bomb casing with high explosives.’
    • ‘According to sources, dissident groups are now at work planning to plant bombs or detonate incendiary devices.’
    • ‘That night airships dropped high explosive bombs and incendiaries on Bradley, Tipton, Wednesbury and Walsall.’
    • ‘Not all of the bombs detonated on impact, and many still lie in the ground here.’
    • ‘According to some reports the bomb contained material which was also found in bombs which exploded last year in blocks of flats situated in the suburbs of Moscow.’
    • ‘A guard activated a radio-jamming device immediately so the bomb couldn't be detonated, West wrote.’
    • ‘Those left behind learned to live with the fear of explosive or incendiary bombs.’
    • ‘The second night attack, which used high explosive and incendiary bombs alternately, caused the first man-made firestorm which affected an area of 22sq.km.’
    • ‘It was later discovered that the bombs were practice bombs, filled with concrete or plaster, rather than explosives.’
    • ‘A passenger said the sound of the impact sounded like a bomb exploding.’
    • ‘The latest technology of death - incendiary bombs and high explosives - rained down on unprotected people for three hours.’
    • ‘A bomb or a missile explodes, spreading the chemical or biological agent over a wide area.’
    • ‘It appeared the car was booby-trapped and the bomb was detonated by remote control.’
    • ‘One day in October, a bomb exploded under his truck.’
    • ‘An exact mix of high explosive and incendiary bombs was used to start the kind of fires that burned Dresden.’
    • ‘Just as my vehicle crossed an aqueduct, they detonated a homemade bomb by remote control and it tore through the floor of my car.’
    • ‘Similarly, although aircraft might contain high-explosive bombs, the target might require cluster bomb units.’
    • ‘However, nothing happened until about 9.00 am when the capital was attacked with both incendiary and high explosive bombs.’
    explosive, incendiary device, incendiary, device
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    1. 1.1[with modifier] An explosive device fitted into a specified object:
      ‘a 100 lb van bomb’
      • ‘Car bombs are a very significant part, car bombs, truck bombs, explosive devices.’
      • ‘At 7.49 am, a backpack bomb tore through their train as it entered Santa Eugenia station, nine miles from Atocha.’
      • ‘Following last Friday's bicycle bomb murder, a large number of workers went on strike in the city today.’
      • ‘A deadly manuscript bomb set off in an American city.’
      • ‘But the owner used his telecommunications expertise to prepare the mobile phones that detonated the train bombs by remote control.’
      • ‘He made sure of that when he sent her a package bomb that blew off her hands and nearly killed her.’
      • ‘Exactly one year ago today, a devastating truck bomb tore through the Headquarters, killing 22 people.’
      • ‘Many people were killed, including a friend of mine who was hit by shrapnel from a van bomb.’
      • ‘Big Ben has more recently figured in fevered truck bomb scenarios that result in it crashing down.’
      • ‘Recent attempted van bomb attacks were foiled in Derry and Belfast.’
      • ‘The employment of car and truck bombs demonstrates a level of expertise that perhaps would suggest the involvement of well-trained terrorists.’
      • ‘They also discuss how to make a pressure cooker bomb and using a Walkman headset into a bobby-trapped device.’
      • ‘The building has been targeted before, and was the scene of a massive van bomb in 1993.’
    2. 1.2the bomb Nuclear weapons considered collectively as agents of mass destruction:
      ‘she joined the fight against the bomb’
      • ‘Part one, describing the destructive effects of the bomb on the population of the two cities, was published on August 6.’
      • ‘Of little military significance, the city of 250,000 provided a good test of the bomb's destructiveness.’
      • ‘The danger is that the government's scaremongering proves so effective that if the worst comes to pass, lives will be lost as a result of fear and ignorance rather than the direct effects of the bomb.’
      • ‘From the very outset all the combatants knew that the bomb would be both a weapon of destruction and a weapon of terror.’
      • ‘Harry Truman, who made the decision to use it, shared with the electorate the opinion that the bomb was a legitimate weapon.’
      • ‘Let me say that I have a strong but constructive critique against parts of the traditional left with regard to their attitude to the bomb and nuclear power.’
      • ‘Despite the unarguable logic of the bomb, nuclear wars don't happen.’
      • ‘Once inside the target, burning uranium is another part of the bomb's destructive power.’
      • ‘The age of the bomb, and of other weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological) continues.’
      • ‘These proposals were eventually rejected for fear that the use of the bomb might provoke a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.’
      nuclear weapons, nuclear bombs, atom bombs, a-bombs
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  • 2A lump of lava thrown out by an erupting volcano.

    • ‘Everyone else gets going out of the way of the lava bombs and lava flows.’
    • ‘Fresh manure, too, dollops of it ramping over the concrete lip of the stall floor like lava bombs flung from a brown volcano.’
    • ‘The group hovered along the surface, flying over the lava fields and dodging the rare incoming of a lava bomb.’
    • ‘And though he'd heard that reaching the 12500-foot summit would be an ordeal, he wasn't prepared for the scorching lava bombs that Erebus hurled at him.’
    • ‘The party ran out of the palace and looked up in the sky and saw a swarm of what looked like lava bees holding lava bombs.’
    1. 2.1 A pear-shaped weight used to anchor a fishing line to the bottom.
      • ‘The lead should be heavy enough to counter the weight of the current, and flat bombs are better than round ones which will tend to roll downstream with the current.’
      • ‘For longer range work I will use a semi-fixed bomb for weights up to 1/2 ounce.’
  • 3British a bombinformal A large sum of money:

    ‘that silk must have cost a bomb’
    • ‘The show didn't cost a bomb and was in aid of a local charity for children.’
    • ‘And here's your workstation - it cost a bomb, and it's the latest and fastest, I believe.’
    • ‘Drinks run the gamut from Manhattans to Martinis but shaken or stirred they cost a bomb.’
    • ‘It cost a bomb, but the university footed the bill, as I had to move at their request.’
    • ‘LCD televisions are all the rage, but a space-saving panel with a picture to rival your traditional set will cost a bomb.’
    • ‘I told him that it would cost a bomb and that my Mom and Dad would never allow it.’
    • ‘The Greenwich Millennium Village's developers must be making an absolute bomb out of the old gasworks.’
    • ‘Soft-toys available in upmarket shops cost a bomb, whereas the toys here are priced at a very affordable range.’
    • ‘It must have cost a bomb but it looked absolutely amazing on her.’
    • ‘The place was very small, and the drinks cost a bomb!’
    • ‘Of course, some of them cost a bomb, but their effect in a home makes up for everything.’
    • ‘Whether that means adding on another bathroom, or a garden shed - this legislation does not detail that - it will cost a bomb.’
    • ‘They may be high fashion, and they may well cost a bomb, but they are, fundamentally, half your basic shell suit.’
    a fortune, a small fortune, a king's ransom, a huge amount, a vast sum, a large sum of money, a lot, millions, billions
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  • 4informal A film, play, or other event that fails badly:

    ‘that bomb of an old movie’
    • ‘And while expensive star signings have won lacklustre ratings, the channel's film arm has produced a string of critical and commercial bombs.’
  • 5US the or 'da' bombinformal An outstandingly good person or thing:

    ‘the site would really be da bomb if its content were updated more frequently’
    • ‘From what I've seen and heard about her on the show, I think she is the bomb.’
    • ‘This is a film in which ballet's da bomb and hip-hop is haute.’
    • ‘But as it turns out, this cute little game is still da bomb.’
    • ‘I played using more of the lower register, which is totally DA BOMB on my violin, and I really need to do that more often.’
    • ‘This year's poster looks good online sure, but the real-deal is totally the bomb.’
    • ‘He is simply ‘da Bomb’ where ladies are concerned.’
  • 6A long forward pass or hit in a ball game:

    ‘a two-run bomb’
    • ‘Evans showed a glimpse of his potential vs. the Raiders by catching a bomb from Bledsoe for 65 yards.’
    • ‘Stand off Andy Hirst caused panic in the home defence with a high bomb which was scrambled out of play.’
    • ‘He came forward time after time, loading up with bombs from his swinging right hand - only few though, if any, connected.’
    • ‘On the second play of the second half, Manning took advantage of a dazed Aaron Glenn and hit Wayne on a 57-yard bomb.’
    • ‘The ball finds its way to Hedman, who launches a bomb down the middle.’
    • ‘His right arm had enough juice to fire a 50-yard crossfield bomb to Connell at the goal line for the score.’
    • ‘Moreover, it's responsible for inducing a leaguewide abandonment of the most entertaining play in football: the long bomb.’
    • ‘After York failed to take a high bomb, Rovers moved the ball out to Gavin Molloy who was awarded a try despite appeals for a forward pass.’
    • ‘He made a couple of small mistakes, but nothing like the touchdown bomb that beat him in the preseason opener.’
    • ‘Minutes later Campbell scored again at the end of a deftly weighted bomb.’
    • ‘The bomb briefly tied the score at 7, but it was all downhill from there.’
    • ‘The two were superb last season and during the preseason, when the Culpepper-to-Moss bomb was the best part of an otherwise rusty offense.’
    • ‘Loose forward Lee Charlton hoisted a huge bomb to the posts and Birky full back Morton Robinson lost the ball under pressure.’
    • ‘Defenses learned how Williams could burn them deep, so they gave him a lot of room underneath to protect against the 40-yard bombs.’
    • ‘Chris Chambers caught a bomb and had a 100-yard receiving day.’
    • ‘Vincanity has been taking all sorts of heat for the Raptors losing streak but Carter was dropping bombs last night, scoring 43.’
    • ‘Godfrey, who was superb with ball in hand if a little suspect under the bomb, received the pass to beat his man and blast over.’
    • ‘Sharks captain David Peachey brought his side back into the match with a try just three minutes later as he chased down a Jason Kent bomb which Burt failed to contest.’
    • ‘They nudged further ahead when Steve Prescott converted after Vaikona knocked forward a bomb to an off-side Lee Radford.’
    • ‘Passing the bomb between teammates and trying to setup plays is really cool!’
  • 7informal A cannabis cigarette.

    cannabis cigarette, marijuana cigarette
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verb

  • 1[with object] Attack (a place or object) with a bomb or bombs:

    ‘they bombed the city at dawn’
    • ‘Before the Sri Lankan army captured Jaffna in 1995, the Air Force indiscriminately bombed civilian areas in the city.’
    • ‘In advance of the line of attack the Luftwaffe heavily bombed all road and rail junctions, and concentrations of Polish troops.’
    • ‘But what if on arrival, their meeting place were bombed and all 21 were killed?’
    • ‘We cannot create a safer world by terrorising and bombing the land of every dictator who chooses not to take ‘our’ side.’
    • ‘The area was heavily bombed in the Blitz, and later heavily redeveloped.’
    • ‘This means bombing the industrial cities, torpedoing the Atlantic convoys.’
    • ‘Moments after they left, the Yugoslav air force began bombing the city.’
    • ‘In retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight, people now understand that he should have bombed the camps.’
    • ‘I think it would be regarded as sacrilegious to bomb the World Heritage sites of Egypt, but I am not sure we have the same scruples about Iraq.’
    • ‘The next occasion Bangkok heard the drone of Allied bombers was 19 December when the dock area was bombed at night.’
    • ‘Villages were bombed from the air and a town was shelled from a cruiser at sea.’
    • ‘We strafed and bombed the city until 23,000 of them were dead.’
    • ‘We bombed their fields and poisoned their country’
    • ‘A couple of nights ago they were using cluster bombs to bomb some area.’
    • ‘Traditionally, cities being bombed turn off all their lights.’
    • ‘As winter approaches, another group of Red Cross food distribution centres is inadvertently bombed in a country where four million people face starvation.’
    • ‘It's the supporters who know about how the field was bombed in World War II.’
    • ‘The city was bombed at least six times through the next day and night.’
    • ‘The US is continuing to heavily bomb the city on a daily basis.’
    bombard, drop bombs on, explode, blast
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    1. 1.1bomb someone out Make someone homeless by destroying their home with bombs:
      ‘my family were bombed out while I was fighting’
      • ‘What are their living conditions going to be like after we bomb them out?’
      • ‘Reuters reported that all water supplies in Kabul have been bombed out and electricity is only being supplied to select parts of the city for 15 minutes per day.’
      • ‘The implication is that you don't have an ethical right to bomb them out of their ability to retaliate against you.’
      • ‘Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Washington D.C., and New York City were bombed out.’
      • ‘He said that the heart of Derry had been bombed out, several hundred soldiers had been hospitalised and that not one arrest had been made.’
      • ‘I lived in a two-up, two-down in a cul-de-sac in Croydon, with an outside loo, and we were bombed out three times during the war.’
      • ‘We were war time babies and spent the time running from house to house as we were bombed out,’ Ron reminisced.’
      • ‘My area is a Protestant area, and a Catholic family moved in up the road and once the surrounding people from the estate found out they were Catholic they were bombed out of their house.’
  • 2British informal [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move very quickly:

    ‘we were bombing down the motorway at breakneck speed’
    • ‘Johnny Wright came bombing down the right wing and played the ball into Gerard McCargo who curled a sweet left foot shot in off the post.’
    • ‘It is the concern of the bank that prices have bombed along despite expectations to the contrary, he said.’
    • ‘He bombs about with the other dogs and is so determined to do whatever they do but he is really clumsy, which has landed him in bother.’
    • ‘It seemed, based on the reactions of drivers and pedestrians that a group of skaters bombing along the streets was a completely new experience.’
    • ‘After beating Andre Ooijer the Frenchman crossed for Silva to finish at the far post after bombing forward.’
    • ‘Kevin Alderton is hoping to set the first-ever blind speed skiing record by bombing down a snowy slope at more than 100 mph.’
    • ‘I have heard many a screeching of car breaks as the driver has been bombing along and come around the corner to meet a huge tractor.’
  • 3informal [no object] (of a film, play, or other event) fail badly:

    ‘it just became another big-budget film that bombed’
    • ‘First he found solace in Bollywood, but his film Anarth bombed at the box office.’
    • ‘Noonan's party bombed in the subsequent election, but the photo his team conjured up became one of the campaign's most enduring images.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, this big-budget movie bombed miserably in the box office and the producer burned his fingers.’
    • ‘Despite this remarkable line-up, the film bombed.’
    • ‘If this play bombed, the Thespian Club was likely to drop the senior drama club altogether.’
    • ‘However, many of his latest movies have bombed at the box-office.’
    • ‘His first film bombed because it failed to live up to its name.’
    • ‘It bombed so badly he almost started drinking again.’
    • ‘Since the film bombed, I don't think we'll be seeing more of Riddick in the near future.’
    • ‘Whether Hughes enjoyed the joke is doubtful; expectation was meteoric and he stood to lose a fortune if the film bombed.’
    • ‘Sadly, Revolution bombed heavily at the box office, although it had been beautifully shot and directed.’
    • ‘The hugely expensive film bombed so badly that one of Hollywood's most venerable companies, United Artists, was destroyed.’
    • ‘The distributors were not going to be happy, said the theatre manager, although since the film had bombed in Auckland they were probably not expecting too much.’
    • ‘Cinemas could become much more entrepreneurial ventures, making more money by taking more of the risk of films smashing or bombing.’
    • ‘But movies that bombed at the box office yet had young adult cult appeal, are perfect Internet candidates.’
    • ‘The host noted that, although the film bombed in 1958, Godard placed it on his list of top ten films of that year.’
    • ‘The film bombed, much to his disappointment, and he went back to school.’
    • ‘After Angus bombed, his career officially went into a lull so he enrolled at university and considered giving up acting altogether.’
    • ‘It is quite usual for 90 per cent of the films to bomb at the box office for not being up to the expectations.’
    • ‘It opened in only 700 theatres across the country and quickly bombed.’
    be unsuccessful, not succeed, lack success, fall through, fall flat, break down, abort, miscarry, be defeated, suffer defeat, be in vain, be frustrated, collapse, founder, misfire, backfire, not come up to scratch, meet with disaster, come to grief, come to nothing, come to naught, miss the mark, run aground, go astray
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • go down a bomb

    • informal Be very well received:

      ‘those gigs we did went down a bomb’
      • ‘Made with black pudding supplied by Kendal butchers Watson & Woollard, the bread went down a bomb.’
      • ‘This is the sort of blend of real history mixed with a dash of naughtiness which seems to go down a bomb with the visitors.’
      • ‘They'd go down a bomb in Wimbledon, the bakers and their strawberry and cream tarts.’
      • ‘A few dropped out of the full monty photo and are possibly regretting the decision since the calendar is going down a bomb in local pubs.’
      • ‘Whatever its contradictions, the play clearly went down a bomb with the young people in the audience, which is what really matters.’
      • ‘This hilarious play, derived from the work of Brendan Kennelly, has delighted audiences all over the county and should go down a bomb in Finuge.’
      • ‘Rooney and his fresh and original act, which included a clever rap parody on popular nursery rhymes, went down a bomb.’
      • ‘‘Your research fails to mention that there was a popular Perry Como version of the song in 1957 which went down a bomb in the Glasgow music halls,’ he says.’
      • ‘That went down a bomb with the soldiers who searched my luggage and cross-examined me several times at the airport.’
      • ‘It'd go down a bomb on the international tourist circuit.’
  • go like a bomb

    • 1informal Be very successful:

      ‘the party went like a bomb’
      • ‘The Villa-Lobos First Etude goes like a bomb whilst the Tarantella of Castelnuovo-Tedesco is saturated in elegant rhythmic drive.’
      • ‘I was going like a bomb with those two birds from the gasworks before I tried your Jimmy Cagney Routine.’
      • ‘It may be a bit of an odd shape for a listed company, but it's going like a bomb, and those who know such things reckon it's bound for greatness.’
      • ‘Galvanised by a flourishing world trade, Dutch companies with an international outlook go like a bomb, the FEM Business Top 500 list shows.’
      • ‘There were three of these places in England and every one was apparently going like a bomb, so that was worth introducing.’
      • ‘Fund Raising has gone like a bomb with a total so far of an amazing £3,200 raised!’
      • ‘In the target seats we have been going like a bomb and there is a great deal of confidence.’
      • ‘This was a building that was derelict until 1997 and it is in a cemetery, not the most promising venue for lively activities, but it has gone like a bomb.’
    • 2informal (of a vehicle or person) move very fast.

      • ‘As for the billycart: it goes like a bomb, and provides a lot of fun.’
      • ‘The connection goes like a bomb for 2 minutes then just slows down to less than a dial-up connection!’
      • ‘‘And Lewis went like a bomb for the first 400 metres up to the corner and then another 100 metres.’’
      • ‘I'll spare you the full report, but basically it goes like a bomb and handles beautifully.’
      • ‘The York went like a bomb, was utterly reliable - if a bit rattly - and was easy to fix if it did go wrong.’
      • ‘It is the top of the range and apparently goes like a bomb.’
      • ‘It looks stunning, it handles like a racing car, it goes like a bomb and it costs a hell of a lot less than many of its competitors.’
      • ‘All of us got into the boat, and we tested it out on the lake; with the 70 horsepower outboard Mercury motor it went like a bomb.’
      • ‘It is so smooth you'd never guess it runs on diesel, and the little Hyundai goes like a bomb, startling other drivers both around town and on the motorway.’
      • ‘It goes like a bomb, pulling away from the lights is fantastic.’
  • look like a bomb's hit it

    • informal (of a place) be extremely messy or untidy in appearance:

      ‘the room looked like a bomb had hit it’
      • ‘The room tidy bit doesn't always happen but then when it gets to looking like a bomb's hit it they are the ones who have to blitz it clean.’
      • ‘Look at it, it looks like a bomb's hit it, it looks like a wasteland, there's not even a sign of a tree.’
      • ‘However, the room now looks like a bomb's hit it as there is stuff all over the floor!’
      • ‘One villager said: ‘My kitchen looks like a bomb's hit it at the moment.’
      • ‘The fact that the place ends up looking like a bomb's hit it and people aren't sitting down to eat until 11.00 o'clock is irrelevant!’
      • ‘No matter how organised it appears, I still leave the house in the mornings with my room looking like a bomb's hit it.’
      • ‘If I'm in charge on my own for just a few hours the place looks like a bomb's hit it.’
      • ‘If the house is half clean he notices that I've only done half, but if I don't do any and the house looks like a bomb's hit it, he doesn't say anything….’
      • ‘The head of access and recreation said: ‘This is well beyond vandalism, it's sheer wanton destruction - the building looks like a bomb's hit it.’’
      • ‘I believe things get worse before they get better - that's why my house looks like a bomb's hit it because there's just stuff everywhere.’

Origin

Late 17th century: from French bombe, from Italian bomba, probably from Latin bombus booming, humming, from Greek bombos, of imitative origin.

Pronunciation:

bomb

/bɒm/