[ ik-sploh-siv ]
/ ɪkˈsploʊ sɪv /


tending or serving to explode: an explosive temper; Nitroglycerin is an explosive substance.
pertaining to or of the nature of an explosion: explosive violence.
likely to lead to violence or hostility: an explosive issue.
Phonetics. plosive.


an explosive agent or substance, as dynamite.
Phonetics. plosive.

Nearby words

  1. explosible,
  2. explosimeter,
  3. explosion,
  4. explosion shot,
  5. explosion welding,
  6. explosive d,
  7. explosive forming,
  8. explosive rivet,
  9. explosive welding,
  10. expo

Origin of explosive

First recorded in 1660–70; explos(ion) + -ive

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for explosive

British Dictionary definitions for explosive


/ (ɪkˈspləʊsɪv) /


of, involving, or characterized by an explosion or explosions
capable of exploding or tending to explode
potentially violent or hazardous; dangerousan explosive situation
phonetics another word for plosive


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
a plosive consonant; stop
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper