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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The group hovered along the surface, flying over the lava fields and dodging the rare incoming of a lava bomb.’
    • ‘Fresh manure, too, dollops of it ramping over the concrete lip of the stall floor like lava bombs flung from a brown volcano.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Everyone else gets going out of the way of the lava bombs and lava flows.’
    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.’
  • 3a bombBritish informal A large sum of money.

    ‘that silk must have cost a bomb’
    • ‘They may be high fashion, and they may well cost a bomb, but they are, fundamentally, half your basic shell suit.’
    • ‘It must have cost a bomb but it looked absolutely amazing on her.’
    • ‘The show didn't cost a bomb and was in aid of a local charity for children.’
    • ‘Of course, some of them cost a bomb, but their effect in a home makes up for everything.’
    • ‘I told him that it would cost a bomb and that my Mom and Dad would never allow it.’
    • ‘Soft-toys available in upmarket shops cost a bomb, whereas the toys here are priced at a very affordable range.’
    • ‘The place was very small, and the drinks cost a bomb!’
    • ‘Whether that means adding on another bathroom, or a garden shed - this legislation does not detail that - it will cost a bomb.’
    • ‘It cost a bomb, but the university footed the bill, as I had to move at their request.’
    • ‘And here's your workstation - it cost a bomb, and it's the latest and fastest, I believe.’
    • ‘The Greenwich Millennium Village's developers must be making an absolute bomb out of the old gasworks.’
    • ‘Drinks run the gamut from Manhattans to Martinis but shaken or stirred they cost a bomb.’
    • ‘LCD televisions are all the rage, but a space-saving panel with a picture to rival your traditional set will cost a bomb.’
    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.’
  • 5the bomb" or "da bombUS informal An outstandingly good person or thing.

    ‘the site would really be da bomb if its content were updated more frequently’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He is simply ‘da Bomb’ where ladies are concerned.’
    • ‘This year's poster looks good online sure, but the real-deal is totally the 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.’
    • ‘From what I've seen and heard about her on the show, I think she is the bomb.’
  • 6A long forward pass or hit in a ball game.

    ‘a two-run bomb’
    • ‘Moreover, it's responsible for inducing a leaguewide abandonment of the most entertaining play in football: the long bomb.’
    • ‘Vincanity has been taking all sorts of heat for the Raptors losing streak but Carter was dropping bombs last night, scoring 43.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Evans showed a glimpse of his potential vs. the Raiders by catching a bomb from Bledsoe for 65 yards.’
    • ‘The ball finds its way to Hedman, who launches a bomb down the middle.’
    • ‘They nudged further ahead when Steve Prescott converted after Vaikona knocked forward a bomb to an off-side Lee Radford.’
    • ‘Stand off Andy Hirst caused panic in the home defence with a high bomb which was scrambled out of play.’
    • ‘His right arm had enough juice to fire a 50-yard crossfield bomb to Connell at the goal line for the score.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Defenses learned how Williams could burn them deep, so they gave him a lot of room underneath to protect against the 40-yard bombs.’
    • ‘He came forward time after time, loading up with bombs from his swinging right hand - only few though, if any, connected.’
    • ‘Passing the bomb between teammates and trying to setup plays is really cool!’
    • ‘Chris Chambers caught a bomb and had a 100-yard receiving day.’
    • ‘On the second play of the second half, Manning took advantage of a dazed Aaron Glenn and hit Wayne on a 57-yard bomb.’
    • ‘Loose forward Lee Charlton hoisted a huge bomb to the posts and Birky full back Morton Robinson lost the ball under pressure.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 7informal A cannabis cigarette.

    cannabis cigarette, marijuana cigarette
    View synonyms

verb

  • 1with object Attack (a place or object) with a bomb or bombs.

    ‘they bombed the city at dawn’
    • ‘We bombed their fields and poisoned their country’
    • ‘In retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight, people now understand that he should have bombed the camps.’
    • ‘A couple of nights ago they were using cluster bombs to bomb some area.’
    • ‘Moments after they left, the Yugoslav air force began bombing the city.’
    • ‘In advance of the line of attack the Luftwaffe heavily bombed all road and rail junctions, and concentrations of Polish troops.’
    • ‘Villages were bombed from the air and a town was shelled from a cruiser at sea.’
    • ‘As winter approaches, another group of Red Cross food distribution centres is inadvertently bombed in a country where four million people face starvation.’
    • ‘This means bombing the industrial cities, torpedoing the Atlantic convoys.’
    • ‘The next occasion Bangkok heard the drone of Allied bombers was 19 December when the dock area was bombed at night.’
    • ‘Before the Sri Lankan army captured Jaffna in 1995, the Air Force indiscriminately bombed civilian areas in the city.’
    • ‘The city was bombed at least six times through the next day and night.’
    • ‘We strafed and bombed the city until 23,000 of them were dead.’
    • ‘The US is continuing to heavily bomb the city on a daily basis.’
    • ‘We cannot create a safer world by terrorising and bombing the land of every dictator who chooses not to take ‘our’ side.’
    • ‘But what if on arrival, their meeting place were bombed and all 21 were killed?’
    • ‘It's the supporters who know about how the field was bombed in World War II.’
    • ‘The area was heavily bombed in the Blitz, and later heavily redeveloped.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Traditionally, cities being bombed turn off all their lights.’
    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?’
      • ‘We were war time babies and spent the time running from house to house as we were bombed out,’ Ron reminisced.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 is the concern of the bank that prices have bombed along despite expectations to the contrary, he said.’
    • ‘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.’
    speed, hurry, race, run, sprint, dash, bolt, dart, rush, hasten, hurtle, career, streak, shoot, whizz, zoom, go like lightning, go hell for leather, spank along, bowl along, rattle along, whirl, whoosh, buzz, swoop, flash, blast, charge, stampede, gallop, sweep, hare, fly, wing, scurry, scud, scutter, scramble
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  • 3informal no object (of a film, play, or other event) fail badly.

    ‘it just became another big-budget film that bombed’
    • ‘The film bombed, much to his disappointment, and he went back to school.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It bombed so badly he almost started drinking again.’
    • ‘The hugely expensive film bombed so badly that one of Hollywood's most venerable companies, United Artists, was destroyed.’
    • ‘His first film bombed because it failed to live up to its name.’
    • ‘After Angus bombed, his career officially went into a lull so he enrolled at university and considered giving up acting altogether.’
    • ‘If this play bombed, the Thespian Club was likely to drop the senior drama club altogether.’
    • ‘Despite this remarkable line-up, the film bombed.’
    • ‘Cinemas could become much more entrepreneurial ventures, making more money by taking more of the risk of films smashing or bombing.’
    • ‘The host noted that, although the film bombed in 1958, Godard placed it on his list of top ten films of that year.’
    • ‘However, many of his latest movies have bombed at the box-office.’
    • ‘Since the film bombed, I don't think we'll be seeing more of Riddick in the near future.’
    • ‘But movies that bombed at the box office yet had young adult cult appeal, are perfect Internet candidates.’
    • ‘First he found solace in Bollywood, but his film Anarth bombed at the box office.’
    • ‘Sadly, Revolution bombed heavily at the box office, although it had been beautifully shot and directed.’
    • ‘Whether Hughes enjoyed the joke is doubtful; expectation was meteoric and he stood to lose a fortune if the film bombed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It opened in only 700 theatres across the country and quickly bombed.’
    • ‘It is quite usual for 90 per cent of the films to bomb at the box office for not being up to the expectations.’
    fail, 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’
      • ‘Whatever its contradictions, the play clearly went down a bomb with the young people in the audience, which is what really matters.’
      • ‘That went down a bomb with the soldiers who searched my luggage and cross-examined me several times at the airport.’
      • ‘Made with black pudding supplied by Kendal butchers Watson & Woollard, the bread went down a bomb.’
      • ‘They'd go down a bomb in Wimbledon, the bakers and their strawberry and cream tarts.’
      • ‘Rooney and his fresh and original act, which included a clever rap parody on popular nursery rhymes, 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.’
      • ‘It'd go down a bomb on the international tourist circuit.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • go like a bomb

    • 1informal Be very successful.

      ‘the party went like a bomb’
      • ‘Fund Raising has gone like a bomb with a total so far of an amazing £3,200 raised!’
      • ‘There were three of these places in England and every one was apparently going like a bomb, so that was worth introducing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Villa-Lobos First Etude goes like a bomb whilst the Tarantella of Castelnuovo-Tedesco is saturated in elegant rhythmic drive.’
      • ‘Galvanised by a flourishing world trade, Dutch companies with an international outlook go like a bomb, the FEM Business Top 500 list shows.’
    • 2informal (of a vehicle or person) move very fast.

      • ‘‘And Lewis went like a bomb for the first 400 metres up to the corner and then another 100 metres.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The connection goes like a bomb for 2 minutes then just slows down to less than a dial-up connection!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The York went like a bomb, was utterly reliable - if a bit rattly - and was easy to fix if it did go wrong.’
      • ‘As for the billycart: it goes like a bomb, and provides a lot of fun.’
      • ‘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 the top of the range and apparently goes like a bomb.’
      • ‘I'll spare you the full report, but basically it goes like a bomb and handles beautifully.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘If I'm in charge on my own for just a few hours the place looks like a bomb's 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.’
      • ‘One villager said: ‘My kitchen looks like a bomb's hit it at the moment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No matter how organised it appears, I still leave the house in the mornings with my room looking like a bomb's hit it.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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….’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘However, the room now looks like a bomb's hit it as there is stuff all over the floor!’

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/