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[det-n-ey-shuh n] /ˌdɛt nˈeɪ ʃən/
the act of detonating.
an explosion.
Machinery. the premature spontaneous burning of a fuel–air mixture in an internal-combustion engine due to the high temperature of air compressed in a cylinder.
Origin of detonation
1670-80; < Medieval Latin dētonātiōn- (stem of dētonātiō), equivalent to Latin dētonāt(us) (see detonate) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
detonative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for detonation
  • The explosion and plume of white that rose last night may have been the result of hydrogen deflagration and detonation.
  • Typically, the areas closest to the explosion or detonation receive the highest dose and downwind areas receive less.
  • The only source of light was that from the detonation.
  • Ordinarily, ski patrollers destroy hoar with direct detonation.
  • The actual detonation date changes from year to year, as does the location.
  • The detonation wave has the added benefit of attaining a higher peak pressure.
  • Timing between the deflagration fuse and detonation fuse determines effective yield.
  • The detonation wave becomes overdriven and the detonation cell width decreases.
  • The efficacy of thermal detonation is greatly limited by the flammability of some agents.
British Dictionary definitions for detonation


an explosion or the act of exploding
the spontaneous combustion in an internal-combustion engine of part of the mixture before it has been reached by the flame front, causing the engine to knock
(physics) rapid combustion, esp that occurring within a shock wave
Derived Forms
detonative, adjective
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 detonation

1670s, "explosion accompanied by loud sound," from French détonation, from Medieval Latin detonationem (nominative detonatio), from Latin detonare "to thunder down, to release one's thunder, roar out," from de- "down" (see de-) + tonare "to thunder" (see thunder (n.)). Sense of "act of causing to explode" (mid-18c.) developed in French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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