There are 3 main definitions of blow in English:

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blow 1

Pronunciation: /blō/

verb (past blew /blo͞o/; past participle blown /blōn/)

1 [no object] (Of wind) move creating an air current: a cold wind began to blow
More example sentences
  • When strong wind blows to create waves and ripples, when it rains hard or when sheets of snow land on the lake-surface.
  • An unexpected cold gust of wind blew into the room and I looked up to note a small gap in the wall of stone blocks.
  • The wind was blowing and it created a nice warm, breeze.
gust, bluster, puff, blast, roar, rush, storm
1.1 [with object] (Of wind) cause to move; propel: a gust of wind blew a cloud of smoke into his face the spire was blown down during a gale
More example sentences
  • The curtains were blown by the wind, along with his hair.
  • Monday's eruption occurred just before sunset; the ash cloud was blown by the wind toward the west, away from the most heavily populated areas.
  • I thought that I must be mistaken, that they were blown by the wind, but again I bent to touch one, and saw it hop hastily away.
sweep, carry, toss, drive, push, force
1.2Be carried, driven, or moved by the wind or an air current: it was so windy that the tent nearly blew away cotton curtains blowing in the breeze
More example sentences
  • The glass doors are shielded from the inside with white, nearly transparent curtains and they blow inward with the breeze.
  • She puts in long hours there and she's a smoker herself, but she describes working behind a bar as like having smoke constantly blown in your face, hour after hour.
  • The leaves have mostly blown off the trees in the past two days, so if you were looking for foliage, this is pretty much what's left
drift, flutter, waft, float, glide, whirl, move
1.3 [with object] North American informal Leave (a place): I’m ready to blow town [no object]: I’d better blow
More example sentences
  • It's only a matter of time before these guys blow, so see them while you still can.
  • Boy, when guys blow on this climb, they are gone in a hurry!
  • Board up, pack up, and blow town before the traffic chokes.
2 [no object] (Of a person) expel air through pursed lips: Willie took a deep breath, and blew he blew on his coffee to cool it
More example sentences
  • She lightly blew on it, blowing away the hot air.
  • He then blew on it lightly to give it the appearance of life.
  • Josh blew on the canteen of hot tea he'd smuggled from his home into the Café and sighed as the steam began to warm his frozen fingers.
2.1 [with object] Use one’s breath to propel: he blew cigar smoke in her face
More example sentences
  • Baranza began to walk toward him, chuckling under his breath, and Brigg blew a stream of smoke from his mouth before removing the cigarette.
  • Inhaling deeply I blew a puff of smoke right into some nerd's face.
  • The other took a puff of his cigar and blew a cloud of smoke at the cherub.
exhale, puff, breathe out;
emit, expel, discharge, issue
2.2Breathe hard; pant: Uncle Albert was soon puffing and blowing
More example sentences
  • Both were blowing hard as assistant coach, aged 42 and retired from competitive football for 10 years, beat them to the line.
  • The hounds are blowing hard and dripping with sweat, but they are utterly delighted with themselves.
  • Falkon shot into Avaria, panting and blowing like a horse.
2.3 [with object] Cause to breathe hard; exhaust of breath: (as adjective blown) an exhausted, blown horse
More example sentences
  • After French cuirassiers and lancers had counter-attacked, Ponsonby was dead and a sad remnant on blown horses limped back to be of no further use to an exasperated Wellington.
  • Whatever the reason, as long as it is easy for the rider of a blown horse to change horses during a game, we are going to see these cases.
  • He changed horses five times, each time dropping off a blown horse and throwing himself into the next one that was saddled.
2.4 [with object] (Of a person) force air through the mouth into (an instrument) in order to make a sound: the umpire blew his whistle
More example sentences
  • It says a lot about a match when the most dramatic moments come after the final whistle has been blown, when both managers get to bickering about the referee.
  • He spoke frankly only after the whistle had already been blown.
  • They both know that victory is essential and neither of them throw in the towel until the final whistle has been blown so I wouldn't take my eyes off this game for a second.
sound, blast, toot, pipe, trumpet;
2.5(Of such an instrument) make a noise by having air forced through it: police whistles blew
More example sentences
  • In its early history, music was the serious concern of voices, or instruments blown or bowed.
  • A computer generated voice comes to life as klaxons sound and whistles blow.
  • Long after the final whistle had blown at their semi-final, the sound of drums beating and fans chanting could be heard outside the stadium.
2.6 [with object] Sound (the horn of a vehicle).
Example sentences
  • There was suddenly the sound of someone blowing a horn of some kind.
  • Picket lines enjoyed public support yesterday with motorists blowing their horns.
  • Should a motorist blow his horn the Guide Dog can become agitated and may therefore be unsure as to what course of action to take.
2.7 informal Play jazz or rock music in an unrestrained style: it took him maybe five choruses to warm up, but then he could really blow
More example sentences
  • What has not escaped their attention amongst all the jazz blowing and beat sampling is the need for melody, musical hooks and the ability to make the essence of the tunes stick in the mind.
  • Can these guys actually play, or are they just making a bunch of groovy thump 'n' blow because that's all they can do?
  • But because of all this, the record companies got kinda afraid, and we weren't really allowed to blow.
2.8 [with object] Force air through a tube into (molten glass) in order to create an artifact.
Example sentences
  • Glass is blown or molded into many shapes for decorative items, and for beverage glasses and other eating and serving dishes.
  • Note 1: There is a glass factory in Provence where you can watch the workers blow the molten glass straight from the furnace.
  • In the year that followed, however, the sculpture was wrecked three times by vandals who smashed out its specially blown coloured glass light tubes.
2.9 [with object] Remove the contents of (an egg) by forcing air through it.
Example sentences
  • There are special kits and tools for blowing eggs that make the process easier and safer for children and adults alike.
  • Since I was a kid we used to blow eggs and then dye them.
  • I love to blow eggs with kids!
2.10 [with adverbial of place] (Of flies) lay eggs in or on something: to repel the hordes of flies that would otherwise blow on the buffalo hide
More example sentences
  • He then coats the eggs with mucus, swims up to his nest, and blows them into the mass of bubbles.
  • The practice of mulesing involves the removal of a sheath of skin from around the breech of the sheep, to prevent the wet wool from becoming fly blown.
  • Speaking of fly blown sheep, here is a question for the new test.
2.11(Of a whale) eject air and vapor through the blowhole.
Example sentences
  • Biologists can hear blue whales blow at the surface from several miles away, often before they can see them.
  • If you are downwind when the whales blow, there is no mistaking the content of their gargantuan diet.
  • We also witnessed humpback whales blowing and diving, breaching and slapping their fins and flukes.
3 [with object] (Of an explosion or explosive device) displace violently or send flying: the blast had blown the windows out of the van the back of his head had been blown away
More example sentences
  • The ensuing huge explosion blew the Hood apart and she sank in a matter of minutes.
  • And it also has some really awesome sequences of robots getting blown apart by flying arrows.
  • Earlier that day a flying bomb had blown out the windows and destroyed the roof of the school hall in London where he was due to sit them.
3.1 [no object] (Of a vehicle tire) burst suddenly while the vehicle is in motion.
Example sentences
  • Then, suddenly his back tyre blows and he grinds to a halt.
  • In fact it was the right rear tyre that blew at lap 83 just after turn 4.
  • The tyre blew at the end of the straight and that was the end of my race.
3.2Burst or cause to burst due to pressure or overheating: [no object]: the engines sounded as if their exhausts had blown [with object]: frost will have blown a compression joint
More example sentences
  • If a $4 cylinder head gasket blows, it costs the customer $1,000 in engine repairs.
  • My car engine blew after service who is at fault?
  • At 32000 miles my engine blew.
burst, explode, blow out, split, rupture, puncture
3.3(Of an electrical circuit) burn out or cause to burn out through overloading: [no object]: the fuse in the plug had blown [with object]: the floodlights blew a fuse
More example sentences
  • Most of Simon Fraser University's main campus was thrown into darkness when a high voltage electric cable blew last Friday.
  • I don't actually recommend doing this, because it may well be overloading the header and blowing one of those is a great way to ruin your afternoon and maybe your motherboard.
  • The strike shorted all the electrics and blew all the fuses.
4 [with object] informal Spend recklessly: they blew $100,000 in just eighteen months
More example sentences
  • As I said in my Budget speech, normally these Governments get accused of blowing the Budget and spending.
  • Either way I've still got no reason to blow my cash on that overly expensive paper weight.
  • I feel like I just blow my money and it means nothing.
squander, waste, misspend, throw away, fritter away, go through, lose, lavish, dissipate, use up;
spend recklessly
informal splurge
5 [with object] informal Completely lose or miss (an opportunity): the wider issues were to show that politicians had blown it
More example sentences
  • Our big opportunity had been blown by a bunch of tight-lipped, upright folks who wanted to mind their own business.
  • Please don't blow such a great opportunity for our region in the Lismore Herb Festival.
  • He blows another great scoring opportunity, with his touch and nerve deserting him as soon as the Milan goal hoves into view.
spoil, ruin, bungle, mess up, fudge, muff;
waste, lose, squander
informal botch, screw up, foul up
5.1Expose (a stratagem): a man whose cover was blown
More example sentences
  • This year that cover has been blown with ill-disguised intent.
  • But where are the media, now that her cover has been blown?
  • Basically the cover has been blown on them in front of a very important audience - international business decision makers.
expose, reveal, uncover, disclose, divulge, unveil, betray, leak
6 (past participle blowed) [with object, usually as imperative] British informal Damn: “Well, blow me,” he said, “I never knew that” [with clause]: I’m blowed if I want to see him again
More example sentences
  • ‘I was blowed if I was going to faint in front of that lot,’ said Therese, whose sex made her something of a rarity in the men only world of food despite her outstanding curriculum vitae.
  • I'm sure there's an answer to this question, but I'll be blowed if I can work it out.
  • But I am blowed if I am going to pretend to be a man in a skirt.
7 [with object] vulgar slang Perform fellatio on (a man).
8 [no object] US informal Be extremely bad or unwelcome: "This blows," she sighs, "I want it to be next week already"
More example sentences
  • The audio is the original mono, and, well, it blows.
  • As Bart Simpson might say - it sucks and it blows.
  • She has a nice exterior personality, but her true self really blows.


1 [in singular] A strong wind: we’re in for a blow
More example sentences
  • The wind started out as just a gentle breeze, but soon evolved into a strong blow.
  • The supercharger into real spring is a sustained blow of muggy Gulf wind.
  • Its weight massed in the crowns makes trees prone to toppling in a strong blow.
2An act of blowing on an instrument: a number of blows on the whistle
More example sentences
  • It was a very exciting game from the first blow of the whistle.
  • From the first blow of the whistle we were unsure as to who would take control of ball when McDonald put the first score on the board.
  • An agitating game that left the hearts of many fans racing from the blow of the whistle was indeed the game of the day.
toot, blast, blare;
2.1 [in singular] An act of blowing one’s nose: give your nose a good blow
More example sentences
  • Put a few drops in each nostril and sniff gently, then give your nose a good blow to get rid of the mucus.
  • They say - they argue that a nose blow was an all-stop signal.
  • If you've been shooting, bullet casting, or otherwise exposed to airborne lead, after washing your hands, give your nose a good blow.
2.2 [in singular] informal A spell of playing jazz or rock music.
Example sentences
  • The lead track is a pretty good tune for an introduction, but the blows don't connect.
  • One musician will then occupy the pivotal No 7 position with the other set for debut after some lusty blows last night and a mean spell of seamers.
  • target: not reached, specialist
2.3(In steelmaking) an act of sending an air or oxygen blast through molten metal in a converter.
Example sentences
  • In the examples provided by the inventors, ore, having a particle size distribution as indicated in the tables of the patent, is supplied during the blows as a coolant.
  • As a result of instituting a high rate of charge of the entire furnace burden and high blowing intensity in the oxygen blow of the bath, furnace productivity increased 2.5 times in 1966
  • This definition does not include any additional, or secondary, oxygen blows made after the primary blow.
3 informal Marijuana or cocaine.
Example sentences
  • The night wouldn't be complete without cocaine, and it became a great sport to see how clandestinely you could consume your blow.
  • I know its a bad reason to check you, but maybe they're afraid that you're doing something illegal, like buying blow or something with a credit card.
  • Why would you wanna do blow while watching a movie about a guy who's life is tragically ruined by selling blow?



be blown off course

(Of a project) be disrupted by some circumstance.
Example sentences
  • Everything should have been planned a year in advance right down to the celebration party afterwards so we didn't get blown off course.
  • He showed no obvious injury or illness so we can only assume he was disorientated or blown off course, as he was found in an area quite some distance from the nearest known Natterer's roost.
  • Some things cannot be spoken or discovered until we have been stuck, incapacitated, or blown off course for awhile. Plain sailing is pleasant, but you are not going to explore many unknown realms that way.

be blown out of the water

(Of a person, idea, or project) be shown to lack all credibility.
Example sentences
  • This is a proposal that's going to get blown out of the water.
  • If they come back with the same treaty they will be blown out of the water.
  • This attitude of doctor knows best has been blown out of the water because we have discovered they didn't know best.

blow someone's brains out

informal Kill someone with a shot in the head with a firearm.
Example sentences
  • I just think that someone might consider blowing his brains out for ironic humor's sake.
  • Wanting to ‘blow someone's brains out’ sounds like the words of someone who has the temperament of a mobster.
  • The military are busy here as they are in all corners of the world upholding the conventions of war which allow them to blow someone's brains out with a sniper rifle at 100 yards but not with a pistol at one yard.

blow chunks

North American informal Vomit.
Example sentences
  • Chaz smiled weakly, looking every bit like he was about to blow chunks all over everybody.
  • We've all blown chunks in some dirty bathroom or bedroom or backseat.
  • I fear that I might blow chunks at any minute.

blow the doors off

North American informal Be considerably better or more successful than: a package that blows the doors off anything on the market
More example sentences
  • Lasers add new level of design detail, virtually blowing the doors off traditional steel rule die cutting.
  • This past year's induction ceremony showcased 70 characters and blew the doors off last years numbers!
  • Mine would blow the doors off of just about anything else out there, but I did spend over $3000.

blow a fuse (or gasket)

informal Lose one’s temper.
Example sentences
  • If you want to see a customer really blow a gasket, try blowing a gasket job.
  • He blew a gasket and acted like a donkey - no offense to donkeys - for no apparent reason.
  • In a genuine, open attempt to discuss this with him, he blew a gasket.

blow one's own horn

see horn.

blow hot and cold

Example sentences
  • He blows hot and cold, more cold than hot it must be said, and he let his side down on Sunday.
  • So even when his talent was at last appreciated, he seemed certain to remain an erratic, blowing hot and cold.
  • This is also the reason why his puppet Prime Minister blows hot and cold in the same breath.
vacillate, dither, shilly-shally, waver, be indecisive, change one's mind, be undecided, be uncertain, be unsure, hem and haw

blow someone a kiss

Kiss the tips of one’s fingers then blow across them toward someone as a gesture of affection.
Example sentences
  • Her fingers flickering in a wave, Fara smirked and blew him a kiss, then gestured for him to go, her wrists bent in a ‘shooing’ motion.
  • Kris lifted a spirit finger, blowing Mikey a kiss before waving as Lena turned in the opposite direction.
  • I smiled and blew her a kiss as I headed towards the kitchen in search of something to satisfy my hunger.

blow one's lid (or top or stack or cool)

informal Lose one’s temper.
Example sentences
  • You'd think he would've blown his lid when he realized the chef was downstairs.
  • ‘I've seen him be patient with things where he would normally blow his lid.’
  • I thought my dad was going to blow his lid when the guy came around with the crumb collector.

blow the lid off

see lid.

blow me down

British An exclamation of surprise.
Example sentences
  • When we started doing our genre-specific titles, well blow me down, the major magazine publishers were in there battling to take it on.
  • And, blow me down, if there aren't reminders among the pictures of previous flooding disasters that have struck Ryedale in the past, along with remarkable scenes of huge snow drifts from savage winter blizzards.
  • I just thought this was a gesture to help this poor soul and blow me down, he reports me to the police.

blow someone's mind

informal Affect someone very strongly.
Example sentences
  • You blow your mind, lose your mind, let yourself go - the very word ecstasy in Greek is to stand outside yourself.
  • Piercing through a layer of virginal white snow, these exhibitionists look staggering, but if you really want to blow your mind, plant them close to water, where their effect will be heightened by reflection.
  • Yeah, I mean it kind of blows your mind sometimes.

blow one's nose

Clear one’s nose of mucus by blowing through it into a handkerchief.
Example sentences
  • I blew my nose in a napkin and blew my nose again on his handkerchief.
  • People shouldn't violently squeeze or blow their nose to clear that congested feeling you get on planes - that leads to broken capillaries under the eyes.
  • As late as the 1700s in certain parts of Europe, people of low birth were not allowed to blow their nose on handkerchiefs.

blow off steam


blow a raspberry


blow someone's socks off

see sock.

blow something to bits (or pieces or smithereens)

Use bombs or other explosives to destroy something, typically a building, completely.
Example sentences
  • Then the bomb exploded and they were blown to bits.
  • Let's just buy bombs and blow them to smithereens!
  • Frederick and his men then come on to the farm and blow the windmill to pieces with explosives, although the animals manage to drive them off the farm again after a bloody battle.

blow something out of proportion

Exaggerate the importance of something.
Example sentences
  • It would have been easy to overstate these contexts and blow them up disproportionately, but the film just drops hints and reminders here and there to keep the focus on his own mind.
  • Anything that people are going to want to read they blow up.
  • But, the media does have a tendency to look at sales as much (perhaps more) than they look at truth, and so the media has a tendency to blow up the negative side of the athlete and lay low on the positive side.

blow up in one's face

(Of an action, project, or situation) go drastically wrong with damaging effects to oneself.
Example sentences
  • Last time, you followed all the rules and the situation still blew up in your face.
  • Our troops have been placed in an impossible situation by a blundering leadership that laughed off the warning signs and friendly advice for a year until the situation blew up in their face.
  • Eventually Dana's situation was going to blow up in her face whether Caysee said anything or not.

blow the whistle on


blow with the wind

Be incapable of maintaining a consistent course of action.
Example sentences
  • Those who still argue that the politician blows with the wind, are deeply, profoundly wrong.
  • So it's really - we're just blowing with the wind.
  • Well, he seems to blow with the wind, willing to do just about anything to keep his paws on the purse strings, and is as crooked as an S-hook.

Phrasal verbs


blow someone away

1Kill someone using a firearm.
Example sentences
  • I grew up on the streets of Pittsburgh and I learned to treat everybody with respect because if not, one day that might be the guy who draws a gun on you and blows you away.
  • Two weeks after Gary had thumped me, his ten-year-old brother blew him away with a pump action shot gun, which his dad kept locked in the boot of an old BMW in his garage.
  • Yet, I still want to get even, to go back there and blow them away, Smoke 'em, do a number on them, get that supervisor's supervisor in hot water with her superiors.
2 (be blown away) Be extremely impressed: I’m blown away by his new poem
More example sentences
  • ‘I want something that blows me away, something that surprises me, something that brings me to tears or sings so beautifully I want to read it over again and again,’ he says.
  • It's no surprise that they absolutely blew me away at the Bowery.
  • If that was a surprise for Abe, he was blown away with what happened next.

blow in

informal (Of a person) arrive casually and unannounced.
Example sentences
  • Then her father blows in, in the shape of a wizardish and craggy Jones, and we quickly realise her hatred of him at abandoning his family to follow the native way while she was still a child as she promptly rejects his offer to make amends.
  • I blow in when I can from my home 400 miles away, thankful for every chance to share the wonder and mystery and blessing of these last days.
  • Then you have some people blow in when the leaves are turning and for Christmas.

blow off

Lose one’s temper and shout.
Example sentences
  • Women have strong ones and men blow-off far more often… it’s a biological fact.
  • Did you blow off?

blow someone off

informal Fail to keep an appointment with someone.
Example sentences
  • What in hindsight should have tipped me off was that she was totally okay with me blowing her off to go watch rugby with my friends - okay, I lie; to go play video games by myself for six hours - and everyone knows that normal girls do not act like that.
  • I was hoping to meet a friend for a drink afterwards, but the various people I had in the frame for the role of ‘friend’ decided to blow me off (in the American rather than English use of the phrase).
  • ‘He is probably with Stacy and blew us off for her’ I said.
4.1End a romantic or sexual relationship with someone.
Example sentences
  • I just blew her off and the relationship continued for another year and a half.
  • ‘You blow us off and then you want to talk about a relationship,’ says Will.
  • I highly recommend not trying it, but if your ex boyfriend blows you off, it's a good replacement.

blow something off

informal Ignore or make light of something.
Example sentences
  • He sometimes blows off community groups, things like that.
  • And when a married woman blows off her commitments to her husband and her children in favor of an affair with a married man, who is to blame?
  • Unsurprisingly, he blows off his friend's demand for payment.
5.1Fail to attend something: Ivy blew off class
More example sentences
  • But first, I must prepare that last class, for the good students who did not blow it off and leave early.
  • And so, while ‘treating the vote as a duty’ may, in some people's eyes, ‘makes us less likely to see it for the precious right that it is,’ so does blowing it off for a hairdressing appointment or getting to the pub a few minutes earlier.
  • Nina's new guy is way more enticing than 9 a.m. calculus... but can she blow off class again?

blow out

1Be extinguished by an air current: the candles blew out
More example sentences
  • She has Henry's arms around her at night, but still there is the blowing out of the candle and the sense of failure that darkness evokes in her.
  • The candle blew out long before the legendary wind.
  • The candle suddenly blew out from an unfelt draft, throwing him into darkness.
be extinguished, go out, be put out, stop burning
2(Of a tire) puncture while the vehicle is in motion.
Example sentences
  • For example, what would I do if I had a front tyre blow out at 100 mph?
  • The force helicopter was also called in to keep track of the man, and at one stage officers considered using ‘stingers’ to blow out the truck's tyres and bring the vehicle to a standstill.
  • A tyre blew out while he was driving his Lotus home from a Dalkeith rugby match against North Berwick.
shatter, rupture, crack, smash, splinter, disintegrate;
burst, explode, fly apart
informal bust
3(Of an oil or gas well) emit gas suddenly and forcefully.
Example sentences
  • Soon afterwards, he was doing maintenance work on an oilrig in Smackover, Arkansas, when the well blew out.
  • There are a variety of methods for controlling a well blow out and extinguishing a well fire.
  • The island was seriously impacted by Hurricane Andrew, after the oil blow out restoration plans included creating marshes near the breaks in the island to stabilize the island.
4 (blow itself out) (Of a storm) finally lose its force: figurative the recession may finally have blown itself out
More example sentences
  • After midnight the storm finally blew itself out, and the lightless convoy moved out.
  • It was three days before the storm blew itself out.
  • The storm blew itself out in the small hours, woke up for a grumble or two a little after first light, and has stayed quiet for the most part since.

blow someone out

North American informal Defeat someone convincingly.
Example sentences
  • Adrian's a bit like a coffee - dark and silky smooth, but his patter fails and Alison blows him out.
  • ‘When we get to the seventh or eighth and we're blowing someone out and I'm not pitching I hate it,’ he told a reporter.
  • When you are blowing someone out, you don't want to embarrass them.

blow something out

1Use one’s breath to extinguish a flame: he blew out the candle
More example sentences
  • Jerome's steady breathing soon blew the flame crystal out.
  • But in a second, the emotion had gone as the flame of a candle did when the flame was blown out.
  • He extinguishes these candles by blowing them out and all present clap their hands.
2North American informal Render a part of the body useless: he blew out his arm trying to snap a curveball
More example sentences
  • They were perfectly aimed, blowing his arms out of their sockets and probably crippling him for life.
  • Some club officials are privately worded that Johnson never will return to the All-Pro level he enjoyed before blowing his knee out in the preseason.
  • Yeah, but I could step off a curb and blow my knee out, too.

blow over

(Of trouble) fade away without serious consequences.
Example sentences
  • Yes that is a promise, we'll go away after all of this blows over, and have serious quality time.
  • My advice old boy is ignore them - this fuss will blow over soon enough, and you are far too valuable a part of the political and journalistic world to quit.
  • You can just imagine the Oxbridge types in cardigans praying this whole ghastly fad would soon blow over.
abate, subside, drop off, lessen, ease (off), let up, diminish, fade, dwindle, slacken, recede, tail off, peter out, pass, die down, fizzle out
dated remit

blow up

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.
1.1(Of a person) lose one’s temper: Meg blows up at Patrick for always throwing his tea bags in the sink
More example sentences
  • 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 angry, rant and rave, go berserk, flare up, erupt
informal go mad, go crazy, go wild, hit the roof, fly off the handle
2(Of a wind or storm) begin to develop.
Example sentences
  • 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.
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;
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.

blow something up

1Cause something to explode.
Example sentences
  • Because you're not just bombing people or blowing things up or destroying enemy forces in large formations.
  • The militants are believed to have executed the victims, stolen computers and other property from the consulate, before detonating a bomb to blow it up.
  • Passengers were released before the planes were blown up.
bomb, blast, destroy;
explode, detonate
2Inflate something: a small pump for blowing up balloons
More example sentences
  • Auto inflation is a technique where a special balloon is blown up by the child using their nose.
  • We blow balloons up for them, do some magic and just remind them what it's like to play again.
  • And if you're short on cash, you can blow them up and make balloon animals to sell on the street.
inflate, pump up, fill up, puff up, swell, expand
2.1Enlarge a photograph or text.
Example sentences
  • Bits of the video had been blown up and made into photographs.
  • You also have the choice of leaving the originals as small prints beside the new enlargement, or blowing the old ones up to 10 ‘x8 ‘as well.
  • Use the crop tool to salvage something usable from your obscured photo, and the enlarge wizard to blow it up to a reasonable size.
enlarge, magnify, expand, increase


Old English blāwan, of Germanic origin; related to German blähen 'blow up, swell', from an Indo-European root shared by Latin flare 'blow'.

  • One of the more colourful phrases involving Old English blow is to blow hot and cold, or keep changing your mind, which comes from Aesop's fable of the man and the satyr. A traveller lost in a forest meets a satyr who offers him lodging for the night, promising to lead him safely out of the woods in the morning. On the way to the satyr's home the man blows on his hands. The satyr asks him why he does this, to which he replies, ‘My breath warms my cold hands.’ At the satyr's home they sit down to eat some steaming hot porridge. The man blows on his first spoonful and again the satyr asks him why. ‘The porridge is too hot to eat and my breath will cool it,’ he answers. At this the satyr orders him to leave, saying ‘I can have nothing to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath.’ See also bloom, gaff

Words that rhyme with blow

aglow, ago, alow, although, apropos, art nouveau, Bamako, Bardot, beau, Beaujolais Nouveau, below, bestow, bo, Boileau, bons mots, Bordeaux, Bow, bravo, bro, cachepot, cheerio, Coe, crow, Defoe, de trop, doe, doh, dos-à-dos, do-si-do, dough, dzo, Flo, floe, flow, foe, foreknow, foreshow, forgo, Foucault, froe, glow, go, good-oh, go-slow, grow, gung-ho, Heathrow, heave-ho, heigh-ho, hello, ho, hoe, ho-ho, jo, Joe, kayo, know, lo, low, maillot, malapropos, Marceau, mho, Miró, mo, Mohs, Monroe, mot, mow, Munro, no, Noh, no-show, oh, oho, outgo, outgrow, owe, Perrault, pho, po, Poe, pro, quid pro quo, reshow, righto, roe, Rouault, row, Rowe, sew, shew, show, sloe, slow, snow, so, soh, sow, status quo, stow, Stowe, strow, tally-ho, though, throw, tic-tac-toe, to-and-fro, toe, touch-and-go, tow, trow, undergo, undersow, voe, whacko, whoa, wo, woe, Xuzhou, yo, yo-ho-ho, Zhengzhou, Zhou

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: blow

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There are 3 main definitions of blow in English:

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blow 2

Pronunciation: /blō/


1A powerful stroke with a hand, weapon, or hard object: he received a blow to the skull
More example sentences
  • If the medical evidence is correct he is unlikely to have fallen down as a result of the stroke itself and I accept a glancing blow to the head would not necessarily knock him over.
  • He tried to make some noises but received a hard blow to the back, which caused him to stop his useless attempts at speech.
  • The police asked me if the child had fallen or received a hard blow to the injured area of her head.
knock, bang, hit, punch, thump, smack, crack, rap, karate chop
informal whack, thwack, bonk, bash, clout, sock, wallop, sockdolager
1.1A sudden shock or disappointment: the news came as a crushing blow
More example sentences
  • He was dealt a disappointing blow here yesterday when the group failed to justify hefty support.
  • His hopes of springing a surprise were dealt a severe blow before the break when the Captain was forced to retire due to concussion.
  • Given the increasingly run-down nature of these command economies, the oil price shocks dealt a crucial blow to regimes running an already bankrupt economic system.
shock, surprise, bombshell, thunderbolt, jolt;
calamity, catastrophe, disaster, upset, setback
informal sockdolager



at one blow

By a single stroke; in one operation: the letter had destroyed his certainty at one blow
More example sentences
  • Or better yet an all-in-one weapon that destroys the whole enmeshed monstrosity at one blow.
  • I am at a loss to understand on what grounds the Planning Authority deems it acceptable to inflict 59 houses, virtually in one block, at one blow in such a small village.
  • In a city where the struggle to find affordable housing has become epic, they stand to lose both housing and community support at one blow.

come to blows

Start fighting after a disagreement.
Example sentences
  • One day they'll surely come to blows over a disagreement about the seven-day forecast, chaos theory be damned.
  • The two young men come to blows, fighting ‘with the instinctive fierceness of panthers in the deepening twilight’.
  • Tai and Blaze fight often but they rarely come to blows.

soften (or cushion) the blow

Make it easier to cope with a difficult change or upsetting news: monetary compensation was offered to soften the blow
More example sentences
  • She lost narrowly to the girl who was promising a wider choice of biscuits at breaktime. Naturally she was upset and I tried hard to soften the blow.
  • The second item of news went some way towards softening the blow of the first.
  • Shall I tell the news to Breanne, or would it soften the blow if she heard it from you?

strike a blow for (or against)

Act in support of (or opposition to): a chance to strike a blow for freedom
More example sentences
  • And it has just struck a blow for liberty by refusing to pass Government plans to curb trial by jury.
  • It followed, he reasoned, that software can strike a blow against the culture of art and ownership.
  • The Board of Education has struck a blow for enlightenment and tolerance - not for homosexuality.


Late Middle English: of unknown origin.

  • One of the more colourful phrases involving Old English blow is to blow hot and cold, or keep changing your mind, which comes from Aesop's fable of the man and the satyr. A traveller lost in a forest meets a satyr who offers him lodging for the night, promising to lead him safely out of the woods in the morning. On the way to the satyr's home the man blows on his hands. The satyr asks him why he does this, to which he replies, ‘My breath warms my cold hands.’ At the satyr's home they sit down to eat some steaming hot porridge. The man blows on his first spoonful and again the satyr asks him why. ‘The porridge is too hot to eat and my breath will cool it,’ he answers. At this the satyr orders him to leave, saying ‘I can have nothing to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath.’ See also bloom, gaff

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: blow

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There are 3 main definitions of blow in English:

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blow 3

Pronunciation: /blō/
archaic or literary

verb (past blew /blo͞o/; past participle blown /blōn/)

[no object]
Produce flowers or be in flower: I know a bank where the wild thyme blows
More example sentences
  • I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding cowslip grow.
  • The flowers kept blowing, unaware their namesake had gone, unaware that this was not a day for flowers to grow so prettily bright in the ground.
  • She was dressed in an elaborate kimono with lovely flowers blowing across it.


The state or period of flowering: stocks in fragrant blow
More example sentences
  • I hope you got the list of my flowers in blow, which I had given Sir C.
  • There was a profusion of roses in blow and there was a wildness about it that I thought was very delightful.
  • ‘I wonder what Mrs. Thatcher felt like when she came walking over the heath in her bride-dress, and Mr. Thatcher's arm in her arm, and the blush roses in blow, and none in all that great place but him and her?’


Old English blōwan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bloeien and German blühen, also to bloom1 and blossom.

  • One of the more colourful phrases involving Old English blow is to blow hot and cold, or keep changing your mind, which comes from Aesop's fable of the man and the satyr. A traveller lost in a forest meets a satyr who offers him lodging for the night, promising to lead him safely out of the woods in the morning. On the way to the satyr's home the man blows on his hands. The satyr asks him why he does this, to which he replies, ‘My breath warms my cold hands.’ At the satyr's home they sit down to eat some steaming hot porridge. The man blows on his first spoonful and again the satyr asks him why. ‘The porridge is too hot to eat and my breath will cool it,’ he answers. At this the satyr orders him to leave, saying ‘I can have nothing to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath.’ See also bloom, gaff

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: blow

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