a high explosive, originally consisting of nitroglycerin mixed with an absorbent substance, now with ammonium nitrate usually replacing the nitroglycerin.
any person or thing having a spectacular effect.

verb (used with object), dy·na·mit·ed, dy·na·mit·ing.

to blow up, shatter, or destroy with dynamite: Saboteurs dynamited the dam.
to mine or charge with dynamite.


Informal. creating a spectacular or optimum effect; great; topnotch: a dynamite idea; a dynamite crew.

Origin of dynamite

1867; < Swedish dynamit, introduced by A. B. Nobel, its inventor; see dyna(m)-, -ite1
Related formsdy·na·mit·er, noundy·na·mit·ic [dahy-nuh-mit-ik] /ˌdaɪ nəˈmɪt ɪk/, adjectivedy·na·mit·i·cal·ly, adverbun·dy·na·mit·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for dynamite

nitroglycerin, TNT, gelignite, trinitrotoluene

Examples from the Web for dynamite

Contemporary Examples of dynamite

Historical Examples of dynamite

  • It is said that dynamite must have been used, and that in a very large quantity.

  • He was tackling a delicate job—like juggling a car-load of dynamite.

  • None of your dynamite pudding that,—as green as grass and as sour as vinegar.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • His hands had been blown away by a dynamite cartridge while fishing in some lagoon.

    Within the Tides

    Joseph Conrad

  • The railway will know where to go for dynamite should we get short at any time.

British Dictionary definitions for dynamite



an explosive consisting of nitroglycerine or ammonium nitrate mixed with kieselguhr, sawdust, or wood pulp
informal a spectacular or potentially dangerous person or thing


(tr) to mine or blow up with dynamite
Derived Formsdynamiter, noun

Word Origin for dynamite

C19 (coined by Alfred Nobel): from dynamo- + -ite 1
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 dynamite

1867, from Swedish dynamit, coined 1867 by its inventor, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), from Greek dynamis "power" (see dynamic (adj.)) + -ite (2). Figurative sense of "something potentially dangerous" is from 1922. Positive sense of "dynamic and excellent" by mid-1960s, perhaps originally Black English.


1881, from dynamite (n.). Related: Dynamited; dynamiting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dynamite in Science



A powerful explosive used in blasting and mining. It typically consists of nitroglycerin and a nitrate (especially sodium nitrate or ammonium nitrate), combined with an absorbent material that makes it safer to handle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.