9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[det-n-eyt] /ˈdɛt nˌeɪt/
verb (used without object), detonated, detonating.
to explode with suddenness and violence.
verb (used with object), detonated, detonating.
to cause (something explosive) to explode.
Origin of detonate
1720-30; < Latin dētonātus thundered forth (past participle of dētonāre), equivalent to dē- de- + ton(āre) to thunder + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
[det-n-uh-buh l] /ˈdɛt n ə bəl/ (Show IPA),
detonatable, adjective
detonability, detonatability, noun
nondetonating, adjective
undetonated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for detonate
  • If designed and placed properly, a pencil bomb could be timed to detonate days later, while ships and their cargo were at sea.
  • But you also don't want to wait until they're about to detonate a bomb.
  • Every week coal companies detonate explosives equivalent to that of an atomic bomb.
  • He proceeded with plans to detonate a thirty-megaton hydrogen bomb, the largest tested to date.
  • Cheap light sensors can detonate a bomb in a dark room when a door is opened.
  • When giant stars reach the final stages of their lives they often detonate in cataclysms known as supernovae.
  • When the driver thwarted their attempt to hijack the vehicle, they tried to detonate the homemade bombs they were carrying.
  • The weapon fires bullets with microchips that can be programmed to detonate when they reach a specific distance.
  • These are programmed to navigate to their target and detonate autonomously once launched.
  • One bomber managed to detonate his vest, shaking the city center.
British Dictionary definitions for detonate


to cause (a bomb, mine, etc) to explode or (of a bomb, mine, etc) to explode; set off or be set off
Word Origin
C18: from Latin dētonāre to thunder down, from de- + tonāre to thunder
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 detonate

1729, a back-formation from detonation, or else from Latin detonatus, past participle of detonare. Related: Detonated; detonating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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