Definition of explode in English:



  • 1Burst or shatter violently and noisily as a result of rapid combustion, decomposition, excessive internal pressure, or other process, typically scattering fragments widely.

    ‘a large bomb exploded in a park’
    • ‘Cluster bombs also produce problematic after-effects because many of the bomblets do not explode on impact as intended.’
    • ‘The firework had exploded next to the cot after penetrating a small double glazed window.’
    • ‘The bombs exploded prematurely in the house, but no one was hurt in the incident.’
    • ‘In late August, after rumbling and smoking for many months, Krakatoa exploded four times and basically blew itself apart.’
    • ‘The airplane exploded and broke up into a couple of pieces.’
    • ‘Reality set in when a B - 17 went into a dive and suddenly exploded in mid-air.’
    • ‘He flew higher into the sky as the ship exploded into flames.’
    • ‘The bottle must have been slightly warm causing it to explode like a pressure bomb.’
    • ‘Wide-eyed youngsters watched as dozens of fireworks exploded in a shower of colour to kick-off the celebrations with a bang.’
    • ‘In 1883, Krakatoa's volcano exploded so violently that the sound was said to have been heard 3,000 miles away.’
    • ‘A grenade exploded nearby, sand raining down on them.’
    • ‘The grenade exploded in mid-air and a brilliant flash blinded everyone in the room.’
    • ‘The missiles hit their mark, as the alien ship finally exploded in a cloud of flames.’
    • ‘The second engine upon the other wing exploded in a burst of flames.’
    • ‘Shells exploded without warning among the armoured columns, every stretch of open road was a potential trap.’
    • ‘Early evidence suggests that only detonators exploded, not bombs.’
    • ‘Mortar rounds, bullets, and antitank rockets all exploded harmlessly on the armored sides of the ship.’
    • ‘The plane's jet engines started with a bang, sounding like a bomb exploding in the fuselage.’
    • ‘The approaching tanks exploded in rapid succession and burst into flames.’
    • ‘There are numerous young surfers who excel - they are a bomb waiting to explode onto the international scene.’
    detonate, set off, let off, discharge, touch off, fire off, let fly
    blow up, detonate, blow, fly apart, fly into pieces, shatter, go off, erupt
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    1. 1.1[with object]Cause (a bomb) to do this.
      ‘the USSR had not yet exploded its first nuclear weapon’
      • ‘Garda sources said this was a potentially highly dangerous situation, given the man could have exploded the petrol bomb in a confined space.’
      • ‘When smokescreen bombs were exploded, everything around turned into a thick white cloud for about twenty seconds.’
      • ‘On July 16, 1945, a test bomb was exploded over the sand flats at Alamogordo, New Mexido.’
      • ‘Could some type of tremendous bomb be exploded within the eye or near the arc of the eye wall to disrupt the circular flow?’
      • ‘After India exploded its nuclear bomb three years ago I had a meeting with the Indian ambassador to Moscow.’
      • ‘You may recall Cai as the artist who a few weeks ago, in spectacular fashion, exploded smoke bombs over Edinburgh Castle to create a ‘black rainbow’.’
      • ‘Despite strong protests from scientists on the Manhattan Project, he decided to explode the atom bombs on populated areas.’
      • ‘Suicide bombers exploded four bombs in coordinated attacks just 11 days before elections are scheduled to be held.’
      • ‘A police official reportedly said it appears that the mine was exploded by a remote controlled device.’
      • ‘The governor's supporters attacked several army posts with rockets and mortar shells and exploded small homemade bombs in a market on Monday.’
      • ‘Although the documents say he has access to radioactive material, they conclude that it is unlikely he has enough to explode a nuclear bomb.’
      • ‘A rebel was being arrested by the military police, and rather than be taken alive, he exploded a grenade he had hidden in his jacket.’
      • ‘When France was exploding its nuclear bombs in the South Pacific in 1995, the French community in Australia had to bear the brunt of Australian anger.’
      • ‘He hooks up the grenades, which will explode the dynamite, and tells his friend to pull hard when the time comes.’
      • ‘He's been accused but never charged in a plot to explode a dirty bomb inside the country.’
      • ‘Guerrillas exploded car bombs in front of a police academy, killing at least 6 and wounding 33.’
      • ‘I thought that, as we are living on the border, maybe someone exploded a bomb.’
      • ‘The systems help researchers test nuclear explosions without actually exploding a bomb and then help determine how best to get rid of our nuclear stockpiles.’
      • ‘She even ‘dies like a man’ at the end of the film, exploding a hand grenade she is holding rather than letting the aliens capture her to take over her body.’
      • ‘The second door will lead to the trash room which has lots of flammable material, putting it there would cause an impact as big as if we exploded the dynamite in the kitchen.’
    2. 1.2technical Undergo a violent expansion in which much energy is released as a shock wave.
      ‘lead ensures that gasoline burns rather than explodes’
      • ‘The laser heats the surrounding air so fast it explodes, causing a shock wave.’
      • ‘One of the reactors exploded and released huge doses of radiation.’
      • ‘This creates heat and in some circumstances you can literally see the hairs popping out of the hair follicle as they explode from the energy they have absorbed.’
      • ‘Also, the chemical plant was processing ammonium nitrate, a stable chemical that requires a substantial infusion of energy to explode.’
      • ‘The fuel inside the tanker exploded and the shockwave from the blast boosted Ravena's speed.’
    3. 1.3(of a person) suddenly give expression to violent and uncontainable emotion, especially anger.
      ‘he can explode with anger’
      [with direct speech] ‘“This is ludicrous!” she exploded’
      • ‘For a second, I thought he was going to explode with anger.’
      • ‘Justin exploded, tears of anger coming to his eyes.’
      • ‘Nell looked as if she would explode with happiness.’
      • ‘His mother and father nearly exploded with surprise and told him it was preposterous.’
      • ‘Paige looked at her mother, fearful that she would explode in anger.’
      • ‘He just exploded with enthusiasm that I had never seen before in my life.’
      • ‘Valerie had quickly covered Devin's mouth before he could explode with his torrent of name calling.’
      • ‘Cooper said they all exploded with laughter and just got back in the Lorry and drove off.’
      • ‘Julia looked so red that she might explode with embarrassment.’
      • ‘Surely, she wouldn't explode with anger and stomp off?’
      • ‘Thousands of school students exploded in anger at the war.’
      • ‘I was so furious when I read the number that I very nearly exploded with rage.’
      • ‘Exploding with rage, Caroline disengaged from the magician and made for Julian.’
      • ‘Things at that moment in his life were such that he just exploded and his anger and those feelings were taken out on the wrong person.’
      • ‘The whole tent of staff officers exploded with cheers.’
      • ‘His fears and frustrations bottled up since the nightmare had begun, he suddenly exploded with fury and savage emotion.’
      • ‘When the black shroud was removed from the white jersey, the crowd exploded with cheers in a standing ovation as fans began to chant Robinson's name.’
      • ‘Laine was wondering if she would actually explode with anxiety when they strolled past two old woman, who gave them a strange look.’
      • ‘The girl's face looked like she was about to explode with rage.’
      • ‘When the bell rang they nearly exploded with laughter about the silly things they were talking about.’
      lose one's temper, give vent to one's feelings, blow up, rage, rant and rave, storm, bluster, get angry, become enraged, go into a rage, go berserk
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    4. 1.4(of a violent emotion or a situation) arise or develop suddenly.
      ‘tension that could explode into violence at any time’
      • ‘Kim's rage suddenly exploded, and she spun around fiercely to face him.’
      • ‘The crisis exploded after a series of kidnappings and violent demonstrations last week, followed by the chairman's reshuffling of top security posts.’
      • ‘Social unrest was exploding as anti-war protestors and civil rights demonstrators used the public stage to express their views.’
      • ‘If you take the time to tend to your financial health now, you should feel reasonably secure when the next crisis explodes.’
      • ‘Thanks to elections, there is no longer the danger of the former, violent impulses exploding.’
      • ‘The situation exploded onto the scene on Tuesday, when the newspaper broke the story.’
      • ‘However, it was only natural such a situation explode eventually.’
      • ‘It means any situation can explode from a simple operation to a full-scale two hour fight.’
      • ‘In this context, is it really that surprising that parents get stroppier with teachers than previously they might have done, and that passions explode on both sides?’
      • ‘Should that crisis explode, it would drag everyone down into the same predicament.’
      • ‘Fortunately, we were interrupted before the situation exploded.’
      • ‘Sometimes anxiety explodes in a panic attack, marked by a general feeling of terror.’
      • ‘The crisis has exploded, and problems are starting to become significant.’
      • ‘The Coalition parties themselves are wracked by tensions and divisions, and there are concerns among the ruling elite that the situation could well explode.’
      • ‘The man's hurt and disgust exploded when less than 10 politicians stayed to hear the discussion on the report into the affair.’
      • ‘What happens, these films ask, when the accumulated rage and resentment inevitably explode?’
      • ‘A feeling suddenly exploded inside of him, and he rose, pulled on pants and a shirt, and went out to tack Shiloh.’
      • ‘I nod again, nervous anxiety exploding in my stomach.’
      • ‘He scowled and the fear exploded inside as he reached out suddenly and grasped me by the chin again, pulling me so that we were face to face, only inches apart.’
      • ‘When I saw them I cried, because I had conflicting emotions exploding inside me.’
    5. 1.5Suddenly begin to move or start a new activity.
      ‘a bird exploded into flight’
      • ‘I move, all of my muscles tensing, then exploding into action.’
      • ‘The young bloke on the veranda stares unwittingly for a moment or two at the approaching figure before suddenly exploding into action.’
      • ‘She is about 13 years old, living proof of the tensions that have grown up over decades in Redfern, passing down the generations and exploding into a full-blown race riot.’
      • ‘Hearing this, Val fell silent and then suddenly exploded into fits of wild laughter.’
      • ‘The match had been relatively quiet until the 28th minute when it suddenly exploded into tempestuous life.’
      • ‘He spoke loudly, often exploding into laughter at his own cleverness and compelling attention with a strange stutter.’
      • ‘All over the campuses are television sets with huge crowds seated around them, alternately watching in silence or exploding into bloodcurdling screams.’
      • ‘Just as he's hypnotised you into his intimate world, the closing track suddenly explodes into ear-blistering Finnish-language opera.’
      • ‘Their first single opens with a loping reggae rhythm topped off with barbershop quartet harmonies, before unexpectedly exploding into big-band jazz.’
      • ‘It's like two people having a conversation that suddenly explodes into violence on the social scale.’
      • ‘Track after track meanders on, never finding its center, never exploding into the rock and roll ecstasy that the band always seems capable of, but never quite delivers.’
      • ‘The song is a lovely acoustic opener with interesting time changes, which suddenly explodes into a loud mess of electric guitars and drums before dropping back into the acoustic part and ending.’
      • ‘There's a palpable sense of excitement as the song suddenly explodes into a frenetic blast of crashing cymbals, screeching guitars, and thumping bass.’
      • ‘He stepped up and got down to business; getting a feel, slowly working up a rhythm, dropping snippets of familiar tracks, then suddenly exploding into action.’
      • ‘Perhaps if we enlist enough troops, we can have several platoons simultaneously exploding into dance around Manhattan, so there will be absolutely no way to tell where we might strike next.’
      • ‘Carefully counting out her remaining coins on the table, the woman suddenly exploded into argument.’
      • ‘Their first scene is, on the surface, a model of civilised restraint, but in their last scene she goads and humiliates him to the point where he explodes into sudden - and lethal - violence.’
    6. 1.6Increase suddenly or rapidly in size, number, or extent.
      ‘the car population of Warsaw has exploded’
      • ‘Dollar reserves rose steadily in the '70s… and then exploded upward in the '80s.’
      • ‘In the intervening months the number of new polio cases has exploded, spreading from Kano across Africa's most populous country.’
      • ‘This was also the period when the population of California really exploded.’
      • ‘Cases of the disease exploded in the 1990s and in 2001 it claimed 1,700 lives.’
      • ‘Their project explores how we should respond to the fact the modern city has exploded in size from the manageable to the unimaginable.’
      • ‘The mosquito-borne illness is spreading and the cases could explode in the judgment of those health officials.’
      • ‘Type 2 diabetes has exploded because of the increasing prevalence of both obesity and sedentary lifestyles.’
      • ‘Between 1984 and 2000, the county's population exploded by about two million to close to 10 million residents.’
      • ‘Since then, interest has exploded, with dozens of games challenging thousands of simultaneous players across both real and virtual environments.’
      • ‘The funds exploded in size and venture capitalists were investing in businesses and then exiting from them at a breakneck speed.’
      • ‘When the population numbers explode and increase exceeding the number that can be employed, unemployment and poverty must be inevitable.’
      • ‘Interest in snakes has recently exploded to such an extent that books on them are appearing almost as fast as those on dinosaurs.’
      • ‘Weed populations explode the year after a drought due to turf thinning.’
      • ‘The companies are regrouping to better attack the market, a market exploding in size and complexity.’
      • ‘The population exploded, increasing from 48,000 in 1970 to 226,000 in 1990.’
      • ‘If rates were to explode upward, mortgage payments for these folks could double or triple.’
      • ‘Car ownership has exploded in Edinburgh over the past two decades.’
      • ‘At the same time, commercial, social and professional opportunities are exploding as new markets open to competition and foreign investment and participation.’
      • ‘In the spring, rebellion exploded across the previously supportive south.’
      • ‘As the urban population exploded in size, councillors faced a housing crisis.’
      increase suddenly, increase rapidly, increase dramatically, mushroom, snowball, escalate, multiply, burgeon, rocket, shoot up, accelerate, heighten
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    7. 1.7(of a diagram or drawing) showing the components of a mechanism as if separated by an explosion but in the normal relative positions.
      ‘an exploded diagram of the rifle's parts’
      • ‘For every birdhouse, you'll find a photo, an exploded diagram of all sides, and simple instructions.’
      • ‘It included an exploded diagram of a typical brick built house and it was interesting to see all the doublings of the various cavities.’
      • ‘The included manual is fairly simple but quite good, with exploded diagrams in more languages than you can shake a stick at.’
      • ‘The guy had no manuals, so I went to the company and photocopied the parts book exploded diagram and re-assembled it.’
      • ‘A simple sheet with even just an exploded diagram as included with many cases these days, would go a long way to improving a novice's experience with this case.’
  • 2[with object] Show (a belief or theory) to be false or unfounded.

    ‘the myths that link smoking with glamour need to be exploded’
    • ‘If lecturers cannot challenge students freely to engage in debate, no matter how disturbing, how are they supposed to explode myths and encourage radical thinking?’
    • ‘Roy's popularity and decency exploded the myth they tried to create.’
    • ‘And if I can help explode stereotypes and misinformed beliefs, so much the better.’
    • ‘Derrida's theory of supplementarity is useful in understanding the extent to which ethnic art explodes postmodern theory in unexpected and unexplored new directions.’
    • ‘With its range of tonalities and mobilities, Niedecker's work explodes the standard cliches of minimalism as quiet or modest.’
    • ‘The survey also exploded the myth that cases of divorce were prevalent among the group.’
    • ‘It explodes myths about refugees and exposes attitudes that need to be dealt with.’
    • ‘The research explodes the conventional wisdom that popular music encourages teenagers to misbehave.’
    • ‘They exploded the belief that the recurrence of periods of bad business was caused by a scarcity of money and by a general overproduction.’
    • ‘This totally explodes the theory of a long life necessarily being a lazy one.’
    • ‘Sinclair's work is not complex and explodes the popular misconceptions of who pays what.’
    • ‘Be warned, this book will explode many myths you will have associated about the onset of the disease in the 1970s and 1980s.’
    • ‘However, gas-giant planets orbiting less than 0.4 AU from their parent stars explode this belief.’
    • ‘Already their research has helped to explode long-held theories about the history of disease.’
    • ‘The belief in the supply side economics has been exploded.’
    • ‘The researchers exploded the popular myth that the more highly educated a person is, the more politically active they are.’
    disprove, refute, deny, rebut, invalidate, gainsay, negate, repudiate, discredit, debunk, belie, give the lie to, expose, deflate, puncture, quash, contradict, ridicule
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Mid 16th century (in the sense reject scornfully, discard): from Latin explodere drive out by clapping, hiss off the stage from ex- out + plaudere to clap explode is derived from the original sense of the word. explode (late 18th century) evolved via an old sense expel with violence and sudden noise perhaps influenced by obsolete displode burst with a noise.