to burst or cause to burst with great violence as a result of internal pressure, esp through the detonation of an explosive; blow up
to destroy or be destroyed in this manner to explode a bridge
(of a gas) to undergo or cause (a gas) to undergo a sudden violent expansion, accompanied by heat, light, a shock wave, and a loud noise, as a result of a fast uncontrolled exothermic chemical or nuclear reaction
(intransitive) to react suddenly or violently with emotion, etc to explode with anger
(intransitive) (esp of a population) to increase rapidly
(transitive) to show (a theory, etc) to be baseless; refute and make obsolete
(transitive) (phonetics) to pronounce (a stop) with audible plosion
1530s, from L. explodere "drive out or off by clapping," originally theatrical, "to drive an actor off the stage by making noise," hence "drive out, reject" (a sense surviving in an exploded theory), from ex- "out" + plaudere "to clap, applaud," of uncertain origin. English used it to mean "drive out with violence and sudden noise" (1650s), later, "go off with a loud noise" (Amer.Eng. 1790); sense of "to burst with destructive force" is first recorded 1882; of population, 1959. Related: Exploded; exploding.