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See more synonyms for explosive on Thesaurus.com
  1. tending or serving to explode: an explosive temper; Nitroglycerin is an explosive substance.
  2. pertaining to or of the nature of an explosion: explosive violence.
  3. likely to lead to violence or hostility: an explosive issue.
  4. Phonetics. plosive.
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  1. an explosive agent or substance, as dynamite.
  2. Phonetics. plosive.
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Origin of explosive

First recorded in 1660–70; explos(ion) + -ive
Related formsex·plo·sive·ly, adverbex·plo·sive·ness, nounnon·ex·plo·sive, adjective, nounnon·ex·plo·sive·ly, adverbnon·ex·plo·sive·ness, nounun·ex·plo·sive, adjectiveun·ex·plo·sive·ly, adverbun·ex·plo·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for explosive

meteoric, frenzied, stormy, touchy, hazardous, ugly, violent, tense, fiery, unstable, uncontrollable, bomb, mine, missile, powder, ammunition, detonator, dynamite, gunpowder

Examples from the Web for explosive

Contemporary Examples of explosive

Historical Examples of explosive

British Dictionary definitions for explosive


  1. of, involving, or characterized by an explosion or explosions
  2. capable of exploding or tending to explode
  3. potentially violent or hazardous; dangerousan explosive situation
  4. phonetics another word for plosive
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  1. a substance that decomposes rapidly under certain conditions with the production of gases, which expand by the heat of the reaction. The energy released is used in firearms, blasting, and rocket propulsion
  2. a plosive consonant; stop
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Derived Formsexplosively, adverbexplosiveness, noun
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 explosive


1660s, "tending to explode," from Latin explos- (past participle stem of explodere; see explosion) + -ive. As a noun, from 1874. Related: Explosives.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper