There are 2 main definitions of blow up in English:

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blow up 1

1Explode: the car blew up as soon as it hit the wall
More example sentences
  • The astronomers studied the remains of a supernova an exploded star that blew up 1,000 years ago, leaving behind debris twice the diameter of the Moon.
  • In the distance, the friends saw a building blow up and explode.
  • On Monday January 21, more than 50 people were killed when a petrol station blew up, the fuel exploding when it came into contact with hot lava.
explode, detonate, go off, be set off, ignite, erupt, burst apart, shatter
informal go bang, go boom
1.1Lose one’s temper: Mum had blown up at Dad with more than her usual vehemence
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  • Jeanna just has a short temper and she blows up at times.
  • If your pal insists you partake in whatever negativity she is up to, blows up at you or quits calling you, you haven't lost much.
  • Tristan hides his surprise at the man's honest admission of having been in prison; Dan, meanwhile, blows up at the insult.
lose one's temper, get/become angry, become enraged, become furious, go into a rage/fury, rant and rave, go berserk, flare up, erupt, rage, blow/lose one's cool
2(Of a wind or storm) begin to develop: outside the sky was overcast and a wind had blown up
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  • Most nervous moment of trip so far when storm blew up gale force 6 winds.
  • Wind blows up from the southeast as if there's a storm behind it.
  • Oil: it means horrendous air pollution, especially on days like yesterday, when the wind blows up a sandstorm and the thick air holds petrol fumes and plasters the stink of them onto your skin.
2.1(Of a scandal or dispute) emerge or become public: a crisis blew up between the two countries in 1967
More example sentences
  • What better way to hurt the credibility of everyone hurling charges at him, than to let a nice big fat juicy scandal blow up in the faces of those pushing it?
  • The endowment scandal looks set to blow up in the insurance industry's face this week as evidence mounts that the government has entered the fray and is looking for solutions.
  • But it seems he's saying the president unloaded on him right about the time the story blew up into a serious scandal and spawned a Justice Department investigation.
break out, erupt, flare up, boil over, start/commence/occur suddenly, emerge, arise
3Inflate: my stomach had started to blow up
More example sentences
  • The inflation theory says that a baby universe blows up very quickly, like a balloon, in the tiniest fraction of a second.
  • The mitochondria and other parts of the cell blow up like balloons and explode.
  • When I woke up [Friday], it was blown up like a balloon, twice the size.
See parent entry: blow
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There are 2 main definitions of blow up in English:

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blow-up 2



1An enlargement of a photograph: the walls are covered with grainy blow-ups
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  • This exhibition, designed by Woods, includes drawings, models, photographic blow-ups and an installation.
  • Along the corridors and hallways, open spaces and nooks, blow-ups of TV Guide covers chronicle the evolution of TV, entertainment and ultimately Americana over the past 47 years.
  • Later, I open the envelope and pull out a blow-up of the wedding photo.
2 informal An outburst of anger: the occasional blow-ups he has at Lennie are understandable
More example sentences
  • She was known for sharp remarks and occasional blow-ups.
  • I wish they hadn't spoiled her blow-up scene in the previews.
  • After talking with Chris, Vera saw that Kaia's blow-up had more to do with bottled up anger towards her mother than with Ralph's death.


Inflatable: a blow-up pillow
More example sentences
  • ‘Sora’ left with her blow-up ring pillow, still a little sore, but definitely not sorry!
  • Our nation's rich supply of blow-up dolls has barely begun to be explored for national security purposes.
  • Here's a contemporary conundrum for you: how come celebs get thinner when they have kids, while the rest of us end up looking like blow-up versions of our former selves?

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