a bomb.
something or someone having a sudden and sensational effect: The news of his resignation was a bombshell.

Nearby words

  1. bomblet,
  2. bombload,
  3. bombora,
  4. bombous,
  5. bombproof,
  6. bombsight,
  7. bombycid,
  8. bombé,
  9. bommie,
  10. bomu

Origin of bombshell

1700–10; 1925–30 for def 2; bomb + shell Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bombshell

British Dictionary definitions for bombshell



(esp formerly) a bomb or artillery shell
a shocking or unwelcome surprisethe 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

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

Idioms and Phrases with bombshell


see drop a bombshell.

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