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[bom-shel] /ˈbɒmˌʃɛl/
a bomb.
something or someone having a sudden and sensational effect:
The news of his resignation was a bombshell.
Origin of bombshell
1700-10; 1925-30 for def 2; bomb + shell Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bombshell
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I found out afterwards that they'd been on the lookout for the bombshell for half an hour.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • A second potato burst like a bombshell on the shingles behind him.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Had a bombshell burst over my head the effect could have been no greater.

    The Long Voyage Carl Richard Jacobi
  • If a bombshell had dropped into Sellersville, consternation could not have been more complete.

    The Mountain Divide Frank H. Spearman
  • His appearance in the fray was like that of a bombshell timed to explode in its midst.

    The Mountain Divide Frank H. Spearman
British Dictionary definitions for bombshell


(esp formerly) a bomb or artillery shell
a shocking or unwelcome surprise: the news of his death was a bombshell
(informal) an attractive girl or woman (esp in the phrase blonde bombshell)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bombshell

1708, from bomb (n.) + shell (n.). The figurative sense of "shattering or devastating thing or event" attested from 1860. In reference to a pretty woman (especially a blonde) it is attested from 1942 ("Bombshell" as title of a movie starring blond U.S. actress Jean Harlow (1911-1937) is from 1933).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bombshell



  1. A startling, striking event; a stunning piece of news or something that makes one gape: Her entrance astride the crocodile was a bombshell (1920s+)
  2. A sexually stimulating woman •Often in the expression ''blonde bombshell'' (1940s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bombshell


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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