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time bomb

a bomb constructed so as to explode at a certain time.
a situation, condition, etc., resembling such a bomb in having disastrous consequences in the future.
Origin of time bomb
1890-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for time bomb
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The narrow escape with the time bomb had robbed him of his confidence in the crew.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • That left him in the same spot he'd been in with regard to the time bomb.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • Despite his liking for Prochaska, Crag couldn't forget that he had failed to find the time bomb in a panel he had twice searched.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • Richter would have been the logical suspect were it not for the episode of the time bomb.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • Do you two mean to intimate that there is a time bomb, or some such infernal machine, aboard this ship?

  • I think that was a time bomb in the magazine, but I have a low and suspicious mind.

    Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper
  • Look at them now—the missile attack on the Aztec, the time bomb plant, the way they operate their networks right in our midst.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
British Dictionary definitions for time bomb

time bomb

a bomb containing a timing mechanism that determines the time at which it will detonate
a situation which, if allowed to continue, will develop into a serious problem
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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time bomb in Technology

software, security
A subspecies of logic bomb that is triggered by reaching some preset time, either once or periodically. There are numerous legends about time bombs set up by programmers in their employers' machines, to go off if the programmer is fired or laid off and is not present to perform the appropriate suppressing action periodically.
Interestingly, the only such incident for which we have been pointed to documentary evidence took place in the Soviet Union in 1986! A disgruntled programmer at the Volga Automobile Plant (where the Fiat clones called Ladas were manufactured) planted a time bomb which, a week after he'd left on vacation, stopped the entire main assembly line for a day. The case attracted lots of attention in the Soviet Union because it was the first cracking case to make it to court there. The perpetrator got 3 years in jail.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with time bomb

time bomb

A situation that threatens to have disastrous consequences at some future time, as in That departmental dispute is a time bomb just waiting to go off. This term alludes to an explosive device that is set to go off at a specific time. [ First half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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