Definition of thermite in English:


(also thermit)


mass noun
  • A mixture of finely powdered aluminium and iron oxide that produces a very high temperature on combustion, used in welding and for incendiary bombs.

    as modifier ‘a thermite grenade’
    • ‘‘Yeah, but a container of thermite will do the same thing,’ the engineer retorted.’
    • ‘Jenkins showed us one evening just how effective the thermite process of oxidation and reduction could be.’
    • ‘From his bulging bag he brought out a small, sleek pipe bomb with a thermite fuse - a home-made grenade - and showed it to the men guarding the house.’
    • ‘The story, according to them, was that the man had thrown a thermite grenade into a tent housing 16 of his fellow soldiers.’
    • ‘Other joining processes include thermite welding, laser welding, and electron-beam welding.’
    • ‘The only alternative we have is to release the hallucinogenic agent before they ignite their thermite.’
    • ‘Early British incendiaries filled with thermite - a mixture of iron oxide and powdered aluminium - produced great heat but this dissipated quickly and was confined to a small area.’
    • ‘The procedure is identical to that used for welding steel except that a special thermit mixture is required.’


Early 20th century: coined in German from thermo- ‘of heat’ + -ite.