Definition of bolide in US English:



  • A large meteor which explodes in the atmosphere.

    • ‘Keep your eyes moving across the sky and stay alert; brilliant fireballs or bolides (exploding meteors) are possible.’
    • ‘This discovery has been interpreted as the consequence of a bolide impact and has assumed considerable significance in the context of the ongoing debate.’
    • ‘The bolide probably prolonged and intensified the change, and may have weighed heavily in favor of mammals or birds and against non - avian dinosaurs.’
    • ‘It has been studied comprehensively by McGhee, who argued cogently that bolide impact and presumed climate change were important controls on the pattern of extinction.’
    • ‘And an expert at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire believes the cause could be a bolide - a meteor between the size of a hazelnut and a tennis ball.’
    • ‘The impact scenario is based upon the occurrence of considerable widespread evidence of a large bolide striking the Earth.’
    • ‘I know it wasn't a plane, a satellite nor a bolide, meteor, fireball or a shooting star.’
    • ‘There was no sound or trail as with a meteor or bolides.’
    • ‘There is a considerable amount of evidence that a bolide collision with Earth triggered the end of the dinosaur era 65 million years ago.’
    • ‘They argue that the actual efficiency is at most 3 percent, based on previous studies of bright bolides.’
    • ‘I saw one slower bolide flare twice on its way through Cancer to Gemini, leaving a long trail which persisted perhaps 10 seconds despite the moon scatter.’
    • ‘It was not a satellite, a bolide or a meteor because of its slow velocity, and it was last seen heading towards Uruguay to the east.’
    • ‘Ever since the proposal that the mass extinction resulted from a bolide impact, the nature of mass extinctions has been the subject of much debate.’
    • ‘It has even been speculated that if a bolide had not seen out the dinosaurs, then they would have eventually evolved into a human-grade intelligent species.’
    • ‘Almost everything that could have gone wrong did: A huge bolide, or asteroid, struck Earth.’
    • ‘That pattern suggests that an object may have struck from the northwest - a path that would have taken the blazing bolide over southeastern Australia, where aboriginal legends mention just such a fireball.’
    • ‘What may have been a bolide of a white spherical type crossed the sky over Buenos Aires and was seen by dozens of people.’’
    • ‘They asserted that it drew close enough to disrupt the orbits of rocky objects, sending a shower of bolides toward the inner planets.’
    • ‘The size and age of lunar impact structures and astronomical observations of asteroids and comets point to numerous large bolide impacts early in Earth history, but geological evidence for these impacts is rare and controversial.’
    • ‘They proposed that the causal agent was a climatic cataclysm, resulting from the impact of a bolide.’


Early 19th century: from French, from Latin bolis, bolid-, from Greek bolis ‘missile’.