Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive & transitive verb To explode or cause to explode.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cause to explode; specifically, to cause to explode with great suddenness and with a loud report.
  • To explode with great suddenness and with a loud noise: as, niter detonates with sulphur.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To explode with a sudden report.
  • transitive verb To cause to explode; to cause to burn or inflame with a sudden report.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To explode; to blow up. Specifically, to combust supersonically via shock compression.
  • verb transitive To cause an explosion.

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

  • verb cause to burst with a violent release of energy
  • verb burst and release energy as through a violent chemical or physical reaction

Etymologies

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

[Latin dētonāre, dētonāt-, to thunder down : dē-, de- + tonāre, to thunder; see (s)tenə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin detonāre. It meant "to stop thundering", e.g. as in weather (de- = "from", tonare = "to thunder"). The current English meaning seems to be a new formation in postclassical times.

Examples

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