Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To release mechanical, chemical, or nuclear energy by the sudden production of gases in a confined space: The bomb exploded.
  • intransitive v. To burst violently as a result of internal pressure.
  • intransitive v. To shatter with a loud noise: The vase exploded into tiny pieces when it hit the floor.
  • intransitive v. To make an emotional outburst: My neighbor exploded in rage at the trespassers.
  • intransitive v. To increase suddenly, sharply, and without control: The population level in this area has exploded during the past 12 years.
  • intransitive v. To change state or appearance suddenly: Over the weekend the trees exploded with color.
  • intransitive v. Sports To hit a golf ball out of a sand trap with a shot that scatters the sand.
  • transitive v. To cause to release energy or burst violently and noisily: The children exploded three firecrackers.
  • transitive v. To show to be false or unreliable: explode a hypothesis.
  • transitive v. Sports To hit (a golf ball) out of a sand trap with an explosive shot.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To create an explosion, usually resulting in the destruction of an intended target.
  • v. To destroy violently or abruptly.
  • v. To create an exploded view.
  • v. To disprove or debunk.
  • v. To blast, to blow up, to burst, to detonate, to go off.
  • v. To make a violent or emotional outburst.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To become suddenly expanded into a great volume of gas or vapor; to burst violently into flame.
  • intransitive v. To burst with force and a loud report; to detonate, as a shell filled with powder or the like material, or as a boiler from too great pressure of steam.
  • intransitive v. To burst forth with sudden violence and noise.
  • transitive v. To drive from the stage by noisy expressions of disapprobation; to hoot off; to drive away or reject noisily.
  • transitive v. To bring into disrepute, and reject; to drive from notice and acceptance.
  • transitive v. To cause to explode or burst noisily; to detonate.
  • transitive v. To drive out with violence and noise, as by powder.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To decry or reject with noise; express disapprobation of with noise or marks of contempt; hiss or hoot off: as, to explode a play or an actor.
  • To destroy the repute or demonstrate the fallacy of; disprove or bring into discredit or contempt; do away with: as, an exploded custom; an exploded hypothesis.
  • To cause to burst suddenly and noisily into an expanded or gaseous state, or into fragments, as gunpowder or the like, a steam-boiler, etc. See II.
  • To drive out with sudden violence and noise.
  • In physiology, to cause to break out or burst forth; bring into sudden action or manifestation; develop rapidly and violently.
  • To burst with force and noise, as gunpowder or an elastic fluid, through suddenly developed chemical reaction, as from the application of fire or friction.
  • To be broken up suddenly with a loud report by an internal force; fly into pieces with violence and noise from any cause, as a boiler from excessive pressure of steam, a bombshell from the expansion of its charge by heat, or a wheel from too rapid revolution.
  • To burst noisily into sudden activity; break out with loud noise from some internal force, or into violent outcry or speech, as from emotion: as, a geyser which explodes at regular intervals; to explode with rage or with laughter.
  • In physiology, to break out or burst forth; become suddenly manifest in operation or effect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. drive from the stage by noisy disapproval
  • v. show a violent emotional reaction
  • v. cause to burst with a violent release of energy
  • v. increase rapidly and in an uncontrolled manner
  • v. destroy by exploding
  • v. cause to burst as a result of air pressure; of stop consonants like /p/, /t/, and /k/
  • v. burst and release energy as through a violent chemical or physical reaction
  • v. burst outward, usually with noise
  • v. be unleashed; emerge with violence or noise
  • v. show (a theory or claim) to be baseless, or refute and make obsolete

Etymologies

Latin explōdere, to drive out by clapping : ex-, ex- + plaudere, to clap.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First recorded around 1538, from the Latin verb explōdere meaning to "drive out or off by clapping". The meaning was originally theatrical, "to drive an actor off the stage by making noise," hence meaning to "to drive out" or "to reject". From ex- meaning "out" + plaudere meaning "to clap" or "to applaud". In English it used to mean to "drive out with violence and sudden noise" (from around 1660), and later meaning to "go off with a loud noise" (from around 1790). (Wiktionary)

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