Definition of explode in English:

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Pronunciation: /ikˈsplōd/


[no object]
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
More example sentences
  • The bottle must have been slightly warm causing it to explode like a pressure bomb.
  • 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.
blow up, detonate, go off, burst (apart), fly apart, erupt
1.1 [with object] Cause (a bomb) to do this: the USSR had not yet exploded its first nuclear weapon
More example sentences
  • Guerrillas exploded car bombs in front of a police academy, killing at least 6 and wounding 33.
  • He's been accused but never charged in a plot to explode a dirty bomb inside the country.
  • After India exploded its nuclear bomb three years ago I had a meeting with the Indian ambassador to Moscow.
1.2 technical Undergo a violent expansion in which much energy is released as a shock wave: lead ensures that gasoline burns rather than explodes
More example sentences
  • The laser heats the surrounding air so fast it explodes, causing a shock wave.
  • The fuel inside the tanker exploded and the shockwave from the blast boosted Ravena's speed.
  • One of the reactors exploded and released huge doses of radiation.
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
More example sentences
  • Surely, she wouldn't explode with anger and stomp off?
  • His fears and frustrations bottled up since the nightmare had begun, he suddenly exploded with fury and savage emotion.
  • I was so furious when I read the number that I very nearly exploded with rage.
lose one's temper, blow up, get angry, become enraged, get mad
informal fly off the handle, hit the roof, blow one's cool/top/stack, go wild, go bananas, go ballistic, see red, go off the deep end, go crackers, go postal
1.4(Of a violent emotion or a situation) arise or develop suddenly: tension that could explode into violence at any time
More example sentences
  • It means any situation can explode from a simple operation to a full-scale two hour fight.
  • A feeling suddenly exploded inside of him, and he rose, pulled on pants and a shirt, and went out to tack Shiloh.
  • Fortunately, we were interrupted before the situation exploded.
1.5 (explode into) Suddenly begin to move or start a new activity: a bird exploded into flight
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Just as he's hypnotised you into his intimate world, the closing track suddenly explodes into ear-blistering Finnish-language opera.
  • Carefully counting out her remaining coins on the table, the woman suddenly exploded into argument.
1.6Increase suddenly or rapidly in size, number, or extent: the car population of Warsaw has exploded
More example sentences
  • Their project explores how we should respond to the fact the modern city has exploded in size from the manageable to the unimaginable.
  • The population exploded, increasing from 48,000 in 1970 to 226,000 in 1990.
  • Type 2 diabetes has exploded because of the increasing prevalence of both obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
increase suddenly/rapidly, mushroom, snowball, escalate, multiply, burgeon, rocket, skyrocket
1.7 (as adjective exploded) (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
More example sentences
  • It included an exploded diagram of a typical brick built house and it was interesting to see all the doublings of the various cavities.
  • 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.
  • For every birdhouse, you'll find a photo, an exploded diagram of all sides, and simple instructions.
2 [with object] Show (a belief or theory) to be false or unfounded: the myths that link smoking with glamour need to be exploded
More example sentences
  • This totally explodes the theory of a long life necessarily being a lazy one.
  • They exploded the belief that the recurrence of periods of bad business was caused by a scarcity of money and by a general overproduction.
  • Already their research has helped to explode long-held theories about the history of disease.
informal poke holes in, blow out of the water
formal confute



Example sentences
  • Scots are ‘exploders’, given to frequent flashes of temper, while the English and Welsh to are ‘imploders’, bottling their emotions up until there is a sudden rush of blood to the head.
  • He offered the definition of cyberstalking as harassment on the Internet using various modes of transmission such as electronic mail, chat rooms, newsgroups and mail exploders.
  • Through the use of Web pages, mail exploders, and newsgroups, the same individual can become a pamphleteer.


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'. sense 2 is derived from the original sense of the word. sense 1 (late 18th century) evolved via an old sense 'expel with violence and sudden noise', perhaps influenced by obsolete displode 'burst with a noise'.

  • In Roman days bad performers were exploded, for explode comes from Latin explodere ‘to drive off with hissing or clapping, to boo off the stage’, from ex- ‘out’ and plaudere ‘to clap’ ( see plaudit). Early meanings of explode were ‘to reject scornfully’, and ‘to show to be false’ (still used in phrases like explode a theory). The modern sense appeared in the late 18th century via the sense ‘to force out violently and noisily’. Implode was formed on the pattern of explode in the late 19th century using in- ‘within’.

Words that rhyme with explode

abode, bestrode, bode, code, commode, corrode, download, encode, erode, forebode, goad, implode, load, lode, middle-of-the-road, mode, node, ode, offload, outrode, road, rode, sarod, Spode, strode, toad, upload, woad

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ex·plode

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