a bomb.
something or someone having a sudden and sensational effect: The news of his resignation was a bombshell.

1700–10; 1925–30 for def 2; bomb + shell Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bombshell (ˈbɒmˌʃɛl)
1.  (esp formerly) a bomb or artillery shell
2.  a shocking or unwelcome surprise: the news of his death was a bombshell
3.  informal an attractive girl or woman (esp in the phrase blonde bombshell)

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

1708, from bomb + shell.; fig. sense of "shattering or devastating thing or event" attested from 1860. In reference to a pretty woman (esp. a blonde) it is attested from 1942 ("bombshell blonde" as a movie title in reference to U.S. actress Jean Harlow is from 1933).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see drop a bombshell.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
But it was too late for some of us because we'd already arrived at the
  university only to hear the bombshell.
Peer review is a bombshell for making a case for publishing.
She intends this to be something of a bombshell: the smoking gun in the form of
  a spray nozzle, as it were.
Even aged and nearly mute, pop's great bombshell could hold an audience
Idioms & Phrases
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