[ det-n-ey-shuh n ]
/ ˌdɛt nˈeɪ ʃən /


the act of detonating.
an explosion.
Machinery. the premature spontaneous burning of a fuel–air mixture in an internal-combustion engine due to the high temperature of air compressed in a cylinder.

Origin of detonation

1670–80; < Medieval Latin dētonātiōn- (stem of dētonātiō), equivalent to Latin dētonāt(us) (see detonate) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsdet·o·na·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for detonation

British Dictionary definitions for detonation


/ (ˌdɛtəˈneɪʃən) /


an explosion or the act of exploding
the spontaneous combustion in an internal-combustion engine of part of the mixture before it has been reached by the flame front, causing the engine to knock
physics rapid combustion, esp that occurring within a shock wave
Derived Formsdetonative, adjective
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 detonation



1670s, "explosion accompanied by loud sound," from French détonation, from Medieval Latin detonationem (nominative detonatio), from Latin detonare "to thunder down, to release one's thunder, roar out," from de- "down" (see de-) + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)). Sense of "act of causing to explode" (mid-18c.) developed in French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper