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.




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Examples from the Web for tnt

Contemporary Examples of tnt

Historical Examples of tnt

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

    Trinity [Atomic Test] Site

    The National Atomic Museum

  • A pound of the stuff would be the equivalent of nearly seven tons of TNT.

    Unwise Child

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • What could his thoughts have been, lying tied up on the living room floor waiting for twenty tons of TNT to go off?

    The Double Spy

    Dan T. Moore

  • 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

  • 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

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

tnt in Science



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.