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[det-n-ey-ter] /ˈdɛt nˌeɪ tər/
a device, as a percussion cap, used to make another substance explode.
something that explodes.
1815-25; detonate + -or2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for detonator
  • For imaging experiments to work, the laser's shutter will have to be faster than its detonator.
  • Electric blasting cap means a detonator designed for and capable of being initiated by means of an electric current.
  • Blasting cap or cap when used in connection with the subject of explosives shall mean detonator.
  • detonator leg wires must be shunted until connection is made into the blasting circuit.
  • Insert the detonator in a hole in the dynamite that is made with a punch suitable for that purpose.
British Dictionary definitions for detonator


a small amount of explosive, as in a percussion cap, used to initiate a larger explosion
a device, such as an electrical generator, used to set off an explosion from a distance
a substance or object that explodes or is capable of exploding
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
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Word Origin and History for detonator

1822, agent noun in Latin form from detonate. For suffix, see -er (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for detonator

device that initiates the detonation of a charge of a high explosive by subjecting it to percussion by a shock wave. In strict usage, the term detonator refers to an easily ignited low explosive that produces the shock wave, and the term primer, or priming composition, denotes a substance that produces a sudden burst of flame to ignite the detonator. The primer may be set off by the brief application of heat (from a burning fuse or an electrically heated wire), by friction, or by mechanical shock (like the impact of the firing pin of a gun)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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