Blow up


an explosion.
a violent argument, outburst of temper, or the like, especially one resulting in estrangement.
Also, blow-up. an enlargement of a photograph.

1800–10; noun use of verb phrase blow up Unabridged


2 [bloh]
verb (used without object), blew, blown, blowing.
(of the wind or air) to be in motion.
to move along, carried by or as by the wind: Dust seemed to blow through every crack in the house.
to produce or emit a current of air, as with the mouth or a bellows: Blow on your hands to warm them.
(of a horn, trumpet, etc.) to give out sound.
to make a blowing sound; whistle: The siren blew just as we rounded the corner.
(of horses) to breathe hard or quickly; pant.
Informal. to boast; brag: He kept blowing about his medals.
Zoology. (of a whale) to spout.
(of a fuse, light bulb, vacuum tube, tire, etc.) to burst, melt, stop functioning, or be destroyed by exploding, overloading, etc. (often followed by out ): A fuse blew just as we sat down to dinner. The rear tire blew out.
to burst from internal pressure: Poorly sealed cans will often blow.
Slang. to leave; depart.
verb (used with object), blew, blown, blowing.
to drive by means of a current of air: A sudden breeze blew the smoke into the house.
to spread or make widely known: Growing panic blew the rumor about.
to drive a current of air upon.
to clear or empty by forcing air through: Try blowing your nose.
to shape (glass, smoke, etc.) with a current of air: to blow smoke rings.
to cause to sound, as by a current of air: Blow your horn at the next crossing.
Jazz. to play (a musical instrument of any kind).
to cause to explode (often followed by up, to bits, etc.): A mine blew the ship to bits.
to burst, melt, burn out, or destroy by exploding, overloading, etc. (often followed by out ): to blow a tire; blow a fuse.
to destroy; demolish (usually followed by down, over, etc.): The windstorm blew down his house.
to spend money on.
to squander; spend quickly: He blew a fortune on racing cars.
to waste; lose: The team blew the lead by making a bad play.
Informal. to mishandle, ruin, botch; make a mess of; bungle: With one stupid mistake he blew the whole project. It was your last chance and you blew it!
Slang. to damn: Blow the cost!
to put (a horse) out of breath by fatigue.
Slang. to depart from: to blow town.
Slang: Vulgar. to perform fellatio on.
Slang. to smoke (marijuana or other drugs).
a blast of air or wind: to clean machinery with a blow.
Informal. a violent windstorm, gale, hurricane, or the like: one of the worst blows we ever had around here.
an act of producing a blast of air, as in playing a wind instrument: a few discordant blows by the bugler.
a blast of air forced through a converter, as in the production of steel or copper.
the stage of the production process during which this blast is used.
Civil Engineering, boil1 ( def 12 ).
Slang. cocaine.
Verb phrases
blow away, Slang.
to kill, especially by gunfire: The gang threatened to blow away anyone who talked to the police.
to defeat decisively; trounce: She blew her opponent away in three straight sets.
to overwhelm with emotion, astonishment, etc.: Good poetry just blows me away.
blow down, Metallurgy. to suspend working of (a blast furnace) by smelting the existing charge with a diminishing blast.
blow in,
Slang. to arrive at a place, especially unexpectedly: My uncle just blew in from Sacramento.
Metallurgy. to begin operations in (a blast furnace).
blow off,
to allow steam to be released.
Informal. to reduce or release tension, as by loud talking.
Informal. to ignore, evade, or treat as unimportant: I mentioned his insulting remark, and he just blew the whole thing off.
Informal. to not go to or participate in: He blew off his first-period class three times that week.
Informal. to fail to meet (someone) as planned without alerting the person beforehand: I waited 20 minutes before I realized my sister had blown me off.
Informal. to end a romantic or other relationship with: He blew me off after our third date.
blow out,
to become extinguished: The candles blew out at once.
to lose force or cease: The storm has blown itself out.
(of an oil or gas well) to lose oil or gas uncontrollably.
Metallurgy. to blow down and clean (a blast furnace) in order to shut down.
blow over,
to pass away; subside: The storm blew over in five minutes.
to be forgotten: The scandal will eventually blow over.
blow up,
to come into being: A storm suddenly blew up.
to explode: The ship blew up.
to cause to explode: to blow up a bridge.
to exaggerate; enlarge: He blew up his own role in his account of the project.
Informal. to lose one's temper: When he heard she had quit school, he blew up.
to fill with air; inflate: to blow up a tire.
Photography. to make an enlarged reproduction of.
Mathematics. (of a function) to become infinite.
blow hot and cold, to favor something at first and reject it later on; waver; vacillate: His enthusiasm for the job blows hot and cold.
blow off steam, Informal. steam ( def 23 ). Also, let off steam.
blow one's cool, Slang. to lose one's composure; become angry, frantic, or flustered.
blow one's cover. cover ( def 52 ).
blow one's lines, Theater. to forget or make an error in a speaking part or stage directions.
blow one's mind. mind ( def 36 ).
blow one's stack. stack ( def 23 ).
blow one's top. top1 ( def 43 ).

before 1000; Middle English blowen (v.), Old English blāwan; cognate with Latin flāre to blow Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
blow1 (bləʊ)
vb (often foll by up, down, in, etc) , blows, blowing, blew, blown, blowed
1.  (of a current of air, the wind, etc) to be or cause to be in motion
2.  (intr) to move or be carried by or as if by wind or air: a feather blew in through the window
3.  to expel (air, cigarette smoke, etc) through the mouth or nose
4.  to force or cause (air, dust, etc) to move (into, in, over, etc) by using an instrument or by expelling breath
5.  (intr) to breathe hard; pant
6.  (sometimes foll by up) to inflate with air or the breath
7.  (intr) (of wind, a storm, etc) to make a roaring or whistling sound
8.  to cause (a whistle, siren, etc) to sound by forcing air into it, as a signal, or (of a whistle, etc) to sound thus
9.  (tr) to force air from the lungs through (the nose) to clear out mucus or obstructing matter
10.  to explode, break, or disintegrate completely: the bridge blew down in the gale
11.  electronics to burn out (a fuse, valve, etc) because of excessive current or (of a fuse, valve, etc) to burn out
12.  slang blow a fuse to lose one's temper
13.  (intr) (of a whale) to spout water or air from the lungs
14.  (tr) to wind (a horse) by making it run excessively
15.  to cause (a wind instrument) to sound by forcing one's breath into the mouthpiece, or (of such an instrument) to sound in this way
16.  slang (intr) jazz to play in a jam session
17.  (intr) (of flies) to lay eggs (in)
18.  to shape (glass, ornaments, etc) by forcing air or gas through the material when molten
19.  chiefly (Scot), (Austral), (NZ) (intr) to boast or brag
20.  slang (tr)
 a.  to spend (money) freely
 b.  (US) to treat or entertain
21.  slang (tr) to use (an opportunity) ineffectively
22.  slang to go suddenly away (from)
23.  slang (tr) to expose or betray (a person or thing meant to be kept secret)
24.  slang (US) (tr) to inhale (a drug)
25.  slang (intr) to masturbate
26.  informal another word for damn : I'll be blowed; blow it!
27.  draughts another word for huff
28.  blow hot and cold to vacillate
29.  blow a kiss, blow kisses to kiss one's hand, then blow across it as if to carry the kiss through the air to another person
30.  blow one's own trumpet to boast of one's own skills or good qualities
31.  slang blow someone's mind
 a.  (of a drug, esp LSD) to alter someone's mental state
 b.  esp (US), (Canadian) to astound or surprise someone
32.  informal blow one's top, blow one's stack, blow one's lid to lose one's temper
33.  the act or an instance of blowing
34.  the sound produced by blowing
35.  a blast of air or wind
36.  metallurgy
 a.  a stage in the Bessemer process in which air is blasted upwards through molten pig iron
 b.  the quantity of metal treated in a Bessemer converter
37.  mining
 a.  a rush of air into a mine
 b.  the collapse of a mine roof
38.  slang jazz a jam session
39.  a.  (Brit) a slang name for cannabis
 b.  (US) a slang name for cocaine
[Old English blāwan, related to Old Norse blǣr gust of wind, Old High German blāen, Latin flāre]

blow2 (bləʊ)
1.  a powerful or heavy stroke with the fist, a weapon, etc
2.  at one blow, at a blow by or with only one action; all at one time
3.  a sudden setback; unfortunate event: to come as a blow
4.  come to blows
 a.  to fight
 b.  to result in a fight
5.  an attacking action: a blow for freedom
6.  (Austral), (NZ) a stroke of the shears in sheep-shearing
[C15: probably of Germanic origin; compare Old High German bliuwan to beat]

blow3 (bləʊ)
vb , blows, blowing, blew, blown
1.  (intr) (of a plant or flower) to blossom or open out
2.  (tr) to produce (flowers)
3.  a mass of blossoms
4.  the state or period of blossoming (esp in the phrase in full blow)
[Old English blōwan; related to Old Frisian blōia to bloom, Old High German bluoen, Latin flōs flower; see bloom1]

blow up
1.  to explode or cause to explode
2.  (tr) to increase the importance of (something): they blew the whole affair up
3.  (intr) to come into consideration: we lived well enough before this thing blew up
4.  (intr) to come into existence with sudden force: a storm had blown up
5.  informal to lose one's temper (with a person)
6.  informal (tr) to reprimand (someone)
7.  informal (tr) to enlarge the size or detail of (a photograph)
8.  an explosion
9.  informal an enlarged photograph or part of a photograph
10.  informal a fit of temper or argument
11.  informal Also called: blowing up a reprimand

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"move air," O.E. blawan "blow, breathe, make an air current; kindle; inflate; sound a wind instrument" (class VII strong verb; past tense bleow, pp. blawen), from P.Gmc. *blæ-anan (cf. O.H.G. blaen, Ger. blähen), from PIE *bhle- "to swell, blow up" (cf. L. flare "to blow"). Slang "do fellatio
on" sense is from 1933, as blow (someone) off, originally among prostitutes (cf. blow job). This usage is probably not connected to the colloquial imprecation (1781, associated with sailors, e.g. Popeye's "well, blow me down!"), which has pp. blowed. Meaning "to spend (money) foolishly and all at once" is 1890s; that of "bungle an opportunity" is from 1943.

"to bloom, blossom" (intrans.), from O.E. blowan "to flower, blossom, flourish," from P.Gmc. *blæ- (cf. O.S. bloian, O.Fris. bloia, O.H.G. bluoen, Ger. blühen), from PIE *bhle-, extended form of *bhel- (2) "to thrive, bloom" (see bole). This word is the source of the blown in full-blown.

"hard hit," mid-15c., blowe, from northern and East Midlands dialects, perhaps from M.Du. blouwen "to beat," a common Germanic word of unknown origin (cf. Ger. bleuen, Goth. bliggwan "to strike"). Influenced in English by blow (v.1).

blow up
"explode," 1590s, from blow (v.1) + up. As a noun, it is recorded from 1809 in the sense "outburst, quarrel." Meaning "enlargement from a photograph" is attested by 1945.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

blow up definition

1. Of a scientific computation: to become unstable. It suggests that the computation is diverging so rapidly that it will soon overflow or at least go nonlinear.
2. blow out.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

blow up

  1. Explode or cause to explode. For example, The squadron was told to blow up the bridge, or Jim was afraid his experiment would blow up the lab. The term is sometimes amplified, as in blow up in one's face. [Late 1500s]

  2. Lose one's temper, as in I'm sorry I blew up at you. Mark Twain used this metaphor for an actual explosion in one of his letters (1871): "Redpath tells me to blow up. Here goes!" [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]

  3. Inflate, fill with air, as in If you don't blow up those tires you're sure to have a flat. [Early 1400s]

  4. Enlarge, especially a photograph, as in If we blow up this picture, you'll be able to make out the expressions on their faces. [c. 1930]

  5. Exaggerate the importance of something or someone, as in Tom has a tendency to blow up his own role in the affair. This term applies the "inflate" of def. 3 to importance. It was used in this sense in England from the early 1500s to the 1700s, but then became obsolete there although it remains current in America.

  6. Collapse, fail, as in Graduate-student marriages often blow up soon after the couple earn their degrees. [Slang; mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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