Definition of explosive in English:



  • 1Able or likely to shatter violently or burst apart.

    ‘an explosive device’
    • ‘The military quickly sealed off the area as army experts searched for more explosive devices.’
    • ‘Several homes in nearby have already been demolished after suffering a potentially explosive build-up of the gas, which is known to miners as Fire Damp.’
    • ‘B-2s deliver explosive ordnance - airlift platforms generally do not.’
    • ‘Yet young children, teenagers and irresponsible adults are carrying in hand and pocket highly explosive materials.’
    • ‘Flying jets in wing formation in the weather and carrying explosive ordnance on board is dangerous work.’
    • ‘Neither gun nor explosive technology made really dramatic advances among the Allied technological establishments.’
    • ‘They knew for some time that this highly explosive material had disappeared.’
    • ‘Activity at the summit is nearly continuous, characterized by occasional lava overflow and brief, highly explosive eruptions.’
    • ‘‘You drop a tank of fuel and a small explosive charge to burst it apart,’ he explained.’
    • ‘When this vehicle was blown apart by an improvised explosive device, an IED, debris flew in every direction.’
    • ‘To carry out his plan, he purchased more explosive devices and assembled two remote control devices.’
    • ‘He said no one had been able to identify the person responsible for dumping the explosive device in a garbage bin.’
    • ‘Each cord initiates a small explosive device that injects a violently active organic compound subcutaneously into a large area of the volunteer's chest.’
    • ‘Similarly the very explosive eruptions in the Glacier Peak range were associated with rapid ice sheet thinning.’
    • ‘"It appeared to be a potentially explosive device," said a spokeswoman for the county.’
    • ‘It sounds simple: an explosive charge in a metal body that's designed to break up into fragments upon detonation.’
    • ‘To complete the illusion, a small explosive charge was to go off in the grocery bag.’
    • ‘In a separate incident, a branch near the capital was damaged by a explosive device made from small cooking gas cylinders.’
    • ‘As we reported, the military today said it discovered sarin nerve gas in an explosive device, an artillery shell, in fact.’
    • ‘The two powerful explosive charges being laid are expertly placed.’
    volatile, inflammable, flammable, combustible, incendiary, eruptive, unstable
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    1. 1.1 (of a vocal sound) produced with a sharp release of air.
      ‘Ruth let out an explosive sound of disbelief’
      • ‘Fewer spoken words start with vowels, which provide more subtle acoustic cues than the more explosive consonant sounds.’
  • 2Likely to cause an outburst of anger or controversy.

    ‘Marco's explosive temper’
    ‘the idea was politically explosive’
    • ‘Explicit priority setting, however, is likely to move very slowly because it is politically explosive.’
    • ‘The tremendous speed with which they abandoned all their previous standpoints is a measure of the depth and extent of the explosive contradictions tearing society apart.’
    • ‘Willingness to negotiate and compromise, when appropriate, helps regain control of an explosive situation.’
    • ‘The league, moving in their habitually mysterious ways, think the club have been ‘excessive’ in response to a moderately explosive controversy.’
    • ‘If and when prosecutions arise, the effect could be politically explosive!’
    • ‘Whatever the motive for the shooting, political experts are quick to point out that even the threat of political violence can have an explosive effect.’
    • ‘As it turned out before bedtime I played witness to one of Mia's explosive temper tantrums.’
    • ‘In view of the explosive situation, a posse of policemen has been posted in the village.’
    • ‘The captain did the only sane thing to do in a very explosive situation.’
    • ‘This guy's nasty, explosive temper outweighs his good points by far!’
    • ‘Here is a suggested sequence of events to participate in to get through anger or a potentially explosive situation.’
    • ‘The article contained potentially explosive material, yet its contents pass by the editors without comment.’
    • ‘If anything, she has found being a woman has its advantages in terms of defusing explosive situations.’
    • ‘Vans carrying anti-riot squad officers and dog handlers flooded the street to defuse what could have been an explosive situation.’
    • ‘The situation is indeed explosive to say the least.’
    • ‘In reality, the psychiatrist, a loose canon with an explosive temper, is more in need of anger management than his client.’
    • ‘And although the recent cooperation has yielded important results, it promises to be politically explosive.’
    • ‘It's a complicated case, marred by a disputed confession, a paucity of witnesses and the sudden, explosive nature of the incident itself.’
    • ‘The explosive controversy surrounding the scandal carried an important lesson for conservatives.’
    • ‘His explosive temper not only caused an opposing player's arm to be broken, it sullied the reputation of one of his players.’
    fiery, stormy, violent, volatile, volcanic, angry, fierce, impassioned, passionate, intense, vehement, tempestuous, turbulent, touchy, irritable, irascible, hot-headed, short-tempered, quick-tempered
    tense, charged, highly charged, overwrought
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  • 3(of an increase) sudden and dramatic.

    ‘the explosive growth of personal computers in the 1980s’
    • ‘The most explosive growth in global e-commerce sales is taking place in Europe, according to IDC.’
    • ‘The explosive growth in the volatility of interest rates and prices is finally over.’
    • ‘You spoke about the growth and development of an explosive upsurge in the working class in America, and the working class coming onto the scene of history.’
    • ‘This is not to say that there has been an explosive upsurge in strike activity; that workers are on the march; that they are winning left, right and centre.’
    • ‘The flowering of classic Russian cuisine coincided with the rapid economic expansion and explosive growth of the middle class in the aftermath of Alexander II's liberal reforms.’
    • ‘At any rate there are many other examples of explosive increases in price volatility.’
    • ‘The cultivation of genetically modified crops is increasing at an explosive rate, now covering a global area more than two times the size of the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘The explosive growth of hedge funds has certainly increased the volatility of markets.’
    • ‘Dramatic improvement in storage technology, coupled with the explosive growth of the Internet, has fundamentally changed the way in which storage is used.’
    • ‘Increased birth rates and immigration have resulted in explosive growth in elementary and secondary school student enrollments.’
    • ‘In other words, the body is primed for rapid and explosive muscle growth.’
    • ‘Economic collapse, with the resultant decimation of health and social care, has led to the explosive increase in the number of TB cases.’
    • ‘He said he felt Kildare had been very badly served when it came to an increase in public services, given the explosive population growth in the county.’
    • ‘However, there has not been a single explosive increase in spending similar to what would have been required to make the business plans of the bubble years a reality.’
    • ‘Behind this shift has been a truly explosive rate of increase in personal sector borrowing.’
    • ‘In other words, the explosive increase in the number of passenger cars and licensed drivers over the past decade resulted in poor education in driving etiquette and traffic rules.’
    • ‘In the face of the explosive increase in the disease now being seen worldwide, this can only be a temporary phenomenon.’
    • ‘The prime minister has once again gambled on an explosive acceleration in economic growth that has yet to materialise.’
    • ‘An explosive increase in car ownership is blamed for a sharp rise in unhealthy emissions.’
    • ‘Since then, the argument goes, there has been an explosive increase in the quantity of money in circulation, mainly due to the creation of credit.’
    sudden, dramatic, rapid, abrupt, meteoric
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often explosives
  • A substance which can be made to explode, especially any of those used in bombs or shells.

    ‘stocks of explosives’
    mass noun ‘a car full of explosive’
    • ‘One also prohibited the discharge of projectiles and explosives from balloons.’
    • ‘Propellants are the explosives used to fire bullets and shells at enemy targets.’
    • ‘Miners experienced in working with explosives stole dynamite from their own pits and used it.’
    • ‘It said one extremist was arrested and a cache of weapons, explosives and money was found.’
    • ‘It turns out it was a World War Two training shell which had no explosives inside.’
    • ‘The first step has to be the seizing of the illegal firearms and explosives in the country.’
    • ‘If properly mixed the substance can be as lethal as military-grade explosives.’
    • ‘Now Sam trained them to use explosives, to lay charges of dynamite and use rifles.’
    • ‘Ten cars packed with explosives were to be parked at the conference precinct in Sandton.’
    • ‘Not connecting it this way would make it a bomb stripped of all explosives, a dud.’
    • ‘Authorities have also yet to determine the type of explosives used in the explosions.’
    • ‘Dogs sniffed them for explosives and bomb squad members blew up at least two bags.’
    • ‘The offer will not mean a humiliating hand over of rifles, machine guns or explosives.’
    • ‘No explosives were found in the mortar shell and the bomb disposal unit said no-one in the local area was at risk.’
    • ‘Their explosives had a time delay trigger to give the divers time to leave the port before exploding.’
    • ‘A stolen car was stopped and found to be filled with explosives after two men fled the scene.’
    • ‘The enemy rained down explosives and incendiary bombs and then dumped barrels of oil onto the flames.’
    • ‘She wasn't trained extensively in weaponry and ballistics, but it never really was hard to place the sound of a thermal explosive going off.’
    • ‘He is regarded as an expert on weapons and explosives by those active in circles on the extreme right.’
    • ‘It was not immediately known whether the explosives had been planted in a car or a building.’
    bomb, incendiary device, incendiary, device
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