Definition of explosive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪkˈspləʊsɪv/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈspləʊsɪv/


1Able or likely to shatter violently or burst apart: an explosive device
More example sentences
  • When this vehicle was blown apart by an improvised explosive device, an IED, debris flew in every direction.
  • As we reported, the military today said it discovered sarin nerve gas in an explosive device, an artillery shell, in fact.
  • ‘You drop a tank of fuel and a small explosive charge to burst it apart,’ he explained.
1.1(Of a vocal sound) produced with a sharp release of air: Ruth let out an explosive sound of disbelief
More example sentences
  • Fewer spoken words start with vowels, which provide more subtle acoustic cues than the more explosive consonant sounds.
2Likely to cause an outburst of anger or controversy: Marco’s explosive temper the idea was politically explosive
More example sentences
  • Here is a suggested sequence of events to participate in to get through anger or a potentially explosive situation.
  • Willingness to negotiate and compromise, when appropriate, helps regain control of an explosive situation.
  • The league, moving in their habitually mysterious ways, think the club have been ‘excessive’ in response to a moderately explosive controversy.
fiery, stormy, violent, volatile, volcanic, angry, fierce, impassioned, passionate, intense, vehement, tempestuous, turbulent, touchy, irritable, irascible, hot-headed, short-tempered, quick-tempered
critical, serious, dangerous, perilous, hazardous, knife-edge, touch-and-go;
sensitive, delicate, unstable, volatile, inflammable, volcanic, ugly, nasty
informal iffy, dicey
3(Of an increase) sudden and dramatic: the explosive growth of personal computers in the 1980s
More example sentences
  • In other words, the explosive increase in the number of passenger cars and licensed drivers over the past decade resulted in poor education in driving etiquette and traffic rules.
  • However, there has not been a single explosive increase in spending similar to what would have been required to make the business plans of the bubble years a reality.
  • Since then, the argument goes, there has been an explosive increase in the quantity of money in circulation, mainly due to the creation of credit.
sudden, dramatic, rapid, abrupt, meteoric;


(often explosives)
A substance which can be made to explode, especially any of those used in bombs or shells: stocks of explosives [mass noun]: a car full of explosive
More example sentences
  • The enemy rained down explosives and incendiary bombs and then dumped barrels of oil onto the flames.
  • One also prohibited the discharge of projectiles and explosives from balloons.
  • Not connecting it this way would make it a bomb stripped of all explosives, a dud.



Pronunciation: /ɪkˈspləʊsɪvnəs/
Pronunciation: /ɛkˈspləʊsɪvnəs/
Example sentences
  • With this century's explosiveness this no longer seems possible.
  • Aware of the subject's explosiveness, Stein did his best to create a working atmosphere of familial security.
  • They know the degree of volatility and potential explosiveness of a brutalised population.

Words that rhyme with explosive

corrosive, implosive, plosive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex¦plo|sive

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