Definition of bomb in English:

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Pronunciation: /bäm/


1A container filled with explosive, incendiary material, smoke, gas, or other destructive substance, designed to explode on impact or when detonated by a time mechanism, remote-control device, or lit fuse.
Example sentences
  • The second night attack, which used high explosive and incendiary bombs alternately, caused the first man-made firestorm which affected an area of
  • According to sources, dissident groups are now at work planning to plant bombs or detonate incendiary devices.
  • An exact mix of high explosive and incendiary bombs was used to start the kind of fires that burned Dresden.
explosive, incendiary (device);
missile, projectile
dated blockbuster, bombshell
1.1 [with modifier] An explosive device fitted into a specified object: a package bomb See also car bomb, letter bomb.
More example sentences
  • He made sure of that when he sent her a package bomb that blew off her hands and nearly killed her.
  • The building has been targeted before, and was the scene of a massive van bomb in 1993.
  • Recent attempted van bomb attacks were foiled in Derry and Belfast.
1.2 (the bomb) Nuclear weapons considered collectively as agents of mass destruction: she joined the fight against the bomb
More example sentences
  • Harry Truman, who made the decision to use it, shared with the electorate the opinion that the bomb was a legitimate weapon.
  • Let me say that I have a strong but constructive critique against parts of the traditional left with regard to their attitude to the bomb and nuclear power.
  • The age of the bomb, and of other weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological) continues.
1.3A small pressurized container that sprays liquid, foam, or gas: the bug bombs we tried did not kill the cockroaches
More example sentences
  • If we were their last hope as they stood over a ginormous liquid nitrogen bomb, wondering whether to cut the blue wire or the red wire, then I fear we have just lost a reader.
  • Furthermore, when the shoot is placed in a pressure bomb and is pressurized to the balance point, the meniscus can be seen to; Return to the cut surface of the open conduits.
  • The root water potential was measured by a PMS Model 600 pressure bomb.
2.1 (also volcanic bomb) A lump of lava thrown out by a volcano.
Example sentences
  • Everyone else gets going out of the way of the lava bombs and lava flows.
  • Fresh manure, too, dollops of it ramping over the concrete lip of the stall floor like lava bombs flung from a brown volcano.
  • The party ran out of the palace and looked up in the sky and saw a swarm of what looked like lava bees holding lava bombs.
3 informal A movie, play, or other event that fails badly.
Example sentences
  • And while expensive star signings have won lacklustre ratings, the channel's film arm has produced a string of critical and commercial bombs.
failure, megaflop, fiasco, loss-maker, debacle
informal flop, washout, bust, dud, turkey, dog, lemon, no-hoper, nonstarter, dead loss, clunker
3.1An old car, especially a run-down one.
Example sentences
  • It's the story of three backpackers - two British girls and a Sydney bloke - who buy an old bomb to drive from WA to Cairns.
4A long forward pass or hit in a ball game: a big 40-yard bomb down the middle to tight end Howard Cross
More example sentences
  • They nudged further ahead when Steve Prescott converted after Vaikona knocked forward a bomb to an off-side Lee Radford.
  • Passing the bomb between teammates and trying to setup plays is really cool!
  • Defenses learned how Williams could burn them deep, so they gave him a lot of room underneath to protect against the 40-yard bombs.
5 (the (or da) bomb) US informal An outstandingly good person or thing: the site would really be da bomb if its content were updated more frequently
More example sentences
  • But as it turns out, this cute little game is still da bomb.
  • I played using more of the lower register, which is totally DA BOMB on my violin, and I really need to do that more often.
  • He is simply ‘da Bomb’ where ladies are concerned.
6 informal A marijuana cigarette.
7 (a bomb) British informal A large sum of money: it will cost a bomb in call charges
More example sentences
  • LCD televisions are all the rage, but a space-saving panel with a picture to rival your traditional set will cost a bomb.
  • They may be high fashion, and they may well cost a bomb, but they are, fundamentally, half your basic shell suit.
  • The show didn't cost a bomb and was in aid of a local charity for children.


1 [with object] Attack (a place or vehicle) with a bomb or bombs: London was bombed, night after night (as noun bombing) a series of bombings
More example sentences
  • In advance of the line of attack the Luftwaffe heavily bombed all road and rail junctions, and concentrations of Polish troops.
  • The next occasion Bangkok heard the drone of Allied bombers was 19 December when the dock area was bombed at night.
  • We strafed and bombed the city until 23,000 of them were dead.
bombard, blast, shell, blitz, strafe, pound;
attack, assault;
blow up, destroy, demolish, flatten, devastate
2 [no object] informal (Of a movie, play, or other event) fail miserably: a big-budget movie that bombed at the box office he bombed out at several tournaments
More example sentences
  • His first film bombed because it failed to live up to its name.
  • The hugely expensive film bombed so badly that one of Hollywood's most venerable companies, United Artists, was destroyed.
  • The distributors were not going to be happy, said the theatre manager, although since the film had bombed in Auckland they were probably not expecting too much.
3 [no object, with adverbial of direction] British informal Move very quickly: the bus came bombing along
More example sentences
  • I have heard many a screeching of car breaks as the driver has been bombing along and come around the corner to meet a huge tractor.
  • Kevin Alderton is hoping to set the first-ever blind speed skiing record by bombing down a snowy slope at more than 100 mph.
  • It is the concern of the bank that prices have bombed along despite expectations to the contrary, he said.



go down a bomb

British informal Be very well received: those gigs we did went down a bomb
More example sentences
  • Made with black pudding supplied by Kendal butchers Watson & Woollard, the bread went down a bomb.
  • This is the sort of blend of real history mixed with a dash of naughtiness which seems to go down a bomb with the visitors.
  • They'd go down a bomb in Wimbledon, the bakers and their strawberry and cream tarts.

it looks like a bomb's hit it

informal Used to describe a place that is extremely messy or untidy in appearance.
Example sentences
  • The room tidy bit doesn't always happen but then when it gets to looking like a bomb's hit it they are the ones who have to blitz it clean.
  • One villager said: ‘My kitchen looks like a bomb's hit it at the moment.
  • Look at it, it looks like a bomb's hit it, it looks like a wasteland, there's not even a sign of a tree.


Late 17th century: from French bombe, from Italian bomba, probably from Latin bombus 'booming, humming', from Greek bombos, of imitative origin.

  • In terms of origin, a bomb goes boom (LME from a Germanic root)—the word probably goes right back to Greek bombos ‘booming, humming’. The first bombs, in the late 17th century, are what we would call ‘shells’. Soldiers ignited their fuses and fired them from mortars. Before they were dramatically unexpected events or sexy blondes, bombshells were originally the casings of such devices. Bombs as we know them came to prominence in the First World War. It was not until after the Second World War, though, that to go like a bomb began to be used for ‘to go very fast’, or cost a bomb for ‘be very expensive’. See also atom. A bombardier (late 16th century) gets his name from an early gun called a bombard (Late Middle English), which came from the same source as bomb.

Words that rhyme with bomb

aplomb, bombe, CD-ROM, dom, from, glom, mom, pom, prom, Rom, shalom, Somme, therefrom, Thom, tom, wherefrom

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bomb

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