Definition of fulminate in English:



[no object]
  • 1Express vehement protest.

    ‘all fulminated against the new curriculum’
    • ‘For three days he fulminated against Howard in parliament, at the National Press Club and in a nationally broadcast television address.’
    • ‘But resisting his blandishments, the German foreign minister began to fulminate for the cameras.’
    • ‘As environment minister, Michael Meacher fulminated that ‘housing is not, and should not be a status symbol, an object of conspicuous consumption or a source of market power and wealth.’’
    • ‘This explains why the party's chairman, Terry McAuliffe, is fulminating against any candidate who remains in the race without winning an early primary.’
    • ‘He was fulminating: ‘In the great scheme of things in Britain, if it's two or three thousand people losing their jobs, what does it matter?’’
    • ‘Building an ideological platform takes time, as conservatives learned, and it can't be done just by fulminating and denouncing.’
    • ‘So I am perplexed by the report in the paper where two Labour councillors are pictured collecting a petition against post office closures and are fulminating against this terrible action by the Labour Government.’
    • ‘Yet in 1969 I heard of a meeting at which a well-respected archaeologist fulminated against the use of colour in a publication on the grounds that ‘black and white was good enough for Rik Wheeler’.’
    • ‘So the Senate rule that liberals fulminated against for decades has become sacrosanct.’
    • ‘The monks opposed Abelard and convinced the Church to condemn him - twice - and the papacy periodically fulminated against the rationalist discourse carried out in [his university] classrooms.’
    • ‘From the columns of The Manchester Guardian Lawrence fulminated against the evils of his time; from the pages of The Skilled Labourer the couple thundered against the evils of the past.’
    • ‘He fulminates against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, best known for forcing restaurants and bus stations in the Jim Crow South to integrate, and against Brown v. Board of Education.’
    • ‘His early, all-male Hamlet, complete with semi-naked gravediggers, had the newspapers, both tabloid and broadsheet, fulminating at his audacity.’
    • ‘According to reports, he was fulminating before a ‘small, but appreciative ‘crowd of well-to-do people in Amritsar.’’
    • ‘I couldn't even think up of a word bad enough to insult her with, I was fulminating with so much rage.’
    • ‘Inevitably, some critics fulminated that boarding schools were turning our girls unfit to be wives and mothers.’
    • ‘She fulminated against this opinion for decades.’
    • ‘Sheepishly, I picked myself up from the ground weakly, completely fulminating with rage at the laws of gravity.’
    • ‘Both press and politicians fulminated against his influence - his nominees were regularly appointed to ministerial posts.’
    • ‘Sir Max had fulminated against the government's call to silence in a leader-page article in the Daily Mail.’
    protest, rail, rage, rant, thunder, storm, declaim, inveigh, speak out, make a stand, take a stand
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  • 2literary Explode violently or flash like lightning.

    ‘thunder fulminated around the house’
    explode, flash, crack, detonate, blow up, go off
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  • 3usually as adjective fulminatingMedicine
    (of a disease or symptom) develop suddenly and severely.

    ‘fulminating appendicitis’
    • ‘Six months is enough time for a fulminating infection to carry you off, or to develop an aggressive cancer that will do the same.’
    • ‘The course of the anemia ranges from mild with gradually developing symptoms to acute with fulminating symptoms.’
    • ‘In some cases, there may not be any symptoms, while in others it may produce mild to moderate dysentery or even fulminating dysentery with fever, severe abdominal cramps and rectal pain.’
    • ‘The sudden, aggressive and fulminating impact of the carcinoma had rendered him incapable of continuing his responsibilities as father to his daughters.’
    • ‘The postmortem revealed she had died of fulminating leptospirosis, and examination of the can confirmed it had been contaminated.’
    • ‘When serum creatinine levels begin to rise, considerable glomerular damage has already occurred, and noncognizance of the renal status when treating hypertension may lead to fulminating renal failure.’
    • ‘Its course was rapid and fulminating, and on the following Friday he died.’


  • A salt or ester of fulminic acid.

    • ‘In the short span of years between 1807 and 1820, metallic fulminates proved an efficient method for igniting powder charges and developed into the familiar and practical percussion cap.’
    • ‘It took the detonation from his mercury fulminate blasting cap to initiate the explosion.’


Late Middle English: from Latin fulminat- ‘struck by lightning’, from fulmen, fulmin- ‘lightning’. The earliest sense (derived from medieval Latin fulminare) was ‘denounce formally’, later ‘issue formal censures’ (originally said of the Pope). A sense ‘emit thunder and lightning’, based on the original Latin meaning, arose in the early 17th century, and hence ‘explode violently’ (late 17th century).