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

  • intransitive verb To release mechanical, chemical, or nuclear energy by the sudden production of gases in a confined space.
  • intransitive verb To burst violently as a result of internal pressure.
  • intransitive verb To shatter with a loud noise.
  • intransitive verb To make an emotional outburst.
  • intransitive verb To increase suddenly, sharply, and without control.
  • intransitive verb To change state or appearance suddenly.
  • intransitive verb Sports To hit a golf ball out of a sand trap with a shot that scatters the sand.
  • intransitive verb To cause to release energy or burst violently and noisily.
  • intransitive verb To show to be false or unreliable.
  • intransitive verb Sports To hit (a golf ball) out of a sand trap with an explosive shot.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

  • intransitive verb To become suddenly expanded into a great volume of gas or vapor; to burst violently into flame.
  • intransitive verb 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 verb To burst forth with sudden violence and noise.
  • transitive verb obsolete To drive from the stage by noisy expressions of disapprobation; to hoot off; to drive away or reject noisily.
  • transitive verb To bring into disrepute, and reject; to drive from notice and acceptance.
  • transitive verb To cause to explode or burst noisily; to detonate.
  • transitive verb To drive out with violence and noise, as by powder.

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

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

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

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


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

[Latin explōdere, to drive out by clapping : ex-, ex- + plaudere, to clap.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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).


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