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explode

[ik-splohd]
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verb (used without object), ex·plod·ed, ex·plod·ing.
  1. to expand with force and noise because of rapid chemical change or decomposition, as gunpowder or nitroglycerine (opposed to implode).
  2. to burst, fly into pieces, or break up violently with a loud report, as a boiler from excessive pressure of steam.
  3. to burst forth violently or emotionally, especially with noise, laughter, violent speech, etc.: He exploded with rage when contradicted.
  4. Phonetics. (of plosives) to terminate the occlusive phase with a plosion.Compare implode(def 2).
  5. Golf. to play an explosion shot on a golf ball.
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verb (used with object), ex·plod·ed, ex·plod·ing.
  1. to cause (gunpowder, a boiler, etc.) to explode.
  2. to cause to be rejected; destroy the repute of; discredit or disprove: to explode a theory.
  3. Phonetics. to end with plosion.
  4. Golf. to play an explosion shot on (a golf ball).
  5. Obsolete. to drive (a player, play, etc.) from the stage by loud expressions of disapprobation.
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Origin of explode

1530–40; < Latin explōdere to drive off by clapping, drive away, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + plod- variant stem of plaudere to clap, beat
Related formsex·plod·er, nounpre·ex·plode, verb, pre·ex·plod·ed, pre·ex·plod·ing.un·ex·plod·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

collapsemushroomburstshatterdetonateeruptblastrupturebackfirejetconvulseshiversplitfracturethunderdischargeblazeinvalidatedisproverefute

Examples from the Web for explode

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "I ought to find the connection and explode it," repeated Caradoc doggedly.

  • Hurriedly he tried a half dozen more cartridges but they refused to explode.

    The Solar Magnet

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

  • At that very moment the Arabella seemed to explode as she swept by.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The flame is so completely hollow that even it cannot explode the powder.

    The Story of a Tinder-box

    Charles Meymott Tidy

  • "La Liberté was no longer there to explode," Delcassé objected grimly.

    The Destroyer

    Burton Egbert Stevenson


British Dictionary definitions for explode

explode

verb
  1. to burst or cause to burst with great violence as a result of internal pressure, esp through the detonation of an explosive; blow up
  2. to destroy or be destroyed in this mannerto explode a bridge
  3. (of a gas) to undergo or cause (a gas) to undergo a sudden violent expansion, accompanied by heat, light, a shock wave, and a loud noise, as a result of a fast uncontrolled exothermic chemical or nuclear reaction
  4. (intr) to react suddenly or violently with emotion, etcto explode with anger
  5. (intr) (esp of a population) to increase rapidly
  6. (tr) to show (a theory, etc) to be baseless; refute and make obsolete
  7. (tr) phonetics to pronounce (a stop) with audible plosion
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Compare implode
Derived Formsexploder, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin explōdere to drive off by clapping, hiss (an actor) off, from ex- 1 + plaudere to clap
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 explode

v.

1530s, "to reject with scorn," from Latin explodere "drive out or off by clapping, hiss off, hoot off," originally theatrical, "to drive an actor off the stage by making noise," hence "drive out, reject" (a sense surviving in an exploded theory), from ex- "out" (see ex-) + plaudere "to clap the hands, applaud," of uncertain origin. Athenian audiences were highly demonstrative. clapping and shouting approval, stamping, hissing, and hooting for disapproval. The Romans seem to have done likewise.

At the close of the performance of a comedy in the Roman theatre one of the actors dismissed the audience, with a request for their approbation, the expression being usually plaudite, vos plaudite, or vos valete et plaudite. [William Smith, "A First Latin Reading Book," 1890]

English used it to mean "drive out with violence and sudden noise" (1650s), later, "go off with a loud noise" (American English, 1790); sense of "to burst with destructive force" is first recorded 1882; of population, 1959. Related: Exploded; exploding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper