or T.N.T.


Chemistry. a yellow, crystalline, water-insoluble, flammable solid, C7H5N3O6, derived from toluene by nitration, a high explosive unaffected by ordinary friction or shock: used chiefly in military and other explosive devices, and as an intermediate in the preparation of dye-stuffs and photographic chemicals.

Origin of TNT

First recorded in 1910–15
Also called trinitrotoluene, trinitrotoluol, methyltrinitrobenzene, trotyl.




Turner Network Television: a cable television channel. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tnt

Contemporary Examples of tnt

Historical Examples of tnt

  • TNT melts far below the boiling point of water so can be readily liquefied and poured into shells.

    Creative Chemistry

    Edwin E. Slosson

  • If the chain reaction failed to occur, the TNT would blow the very rare and dangerous plutonium all over the countryside.

    Trinity [Atomic test] Site

    White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office

  • Yields from 45,000 tons of TNT to zero were selected by the various bettors.

    Trinity [Atomic Test] Site

    The National Atomic Museum

  • The mails carry letters every day that are so many packages of TNT should their contents be exploded by falling into wrong hands.


    Emily Post

  • The scientists were sure the TNT would explode, but were initially unsure of the plutonium.

    Trinity [Atomic test] Site

    White Sands Missile Range Public Affairs Office

British Dictionary definitions for tnt



2,4,6-trinitrotoluene; a yellow solid: used chiefly as a high explosive and is also an intermediate in the manufacture of dyestuffs. Formula: CH 3 C 6 H 2 (NO 2) 3
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 tnt


1915, abbreviation of trinitrotoluene (1908).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for tnt



Short for trinitrotoluene. A yellow, crystalline compound used mainly as an explosive. As it can only explode by means of a detonator and is not affected by shock, it is safe to handle and is used especially in munitions and for demolitions. Chemical formula: C7H5N3O6.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.