Definition of deflagration in US English:



  • 1The action of heating a substance until it burns away rapidly.

    • ‘Other times, depending on the casement, whether it is plastic or metal, especially metal, it will do low order detonation, or what we call deflagration.’
    • ‘Very few blast-resistant windows installed during the renovation of the structure that was begun in 1999 and scheduled for completion in 2010 broke during the impact and deflagration of aircraft fuel.’
    • ‘Improper dispersal of the fuel aerosol or a mis-timed firing of the initiator could produce a large fireball, but the resulting deflagration would not produce the blast shock wave of the intended explosive detonation.’
    1. 1.1technical Combustion which propagates through a gas or across the surface of an explosive at subsonic speeds, driven by the transfer of heat.
      Compare with detonation
      • ‘Explosives experts refer to rapid explosive reactions as detonation and slower explosive reactions as deflagration.’


Early 17th century: from Latin deflagratio(n-), from the verb deflagrare (see deflagrate).