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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A detonation ensues, and the vapours expand themselves into the adopters, where they condense.

  • He shuddered at the thought of the havoc which its detonation would cause.

    The Great Drought Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • And then, roused by the detonation of a shell in an adjacent place, he turned sharply upon the fellow who stood before him.

    The Great Airship. F. S. Brereton
  • The detonation of a cartridge or so when a bombardment is going on, what does it count for?

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • As it did so there was a blinding flash and a detonation that was heard in the submarine.

  • The detonation that followed startled him out of his self-possession.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • For a long time the detonation of the artillery and the rattle of musketry continued unabated.

  • It was not the shouts of men, nor the detonation of guns, nor the pealing of the thunder.

    The Scalp Hunters Mayne Reid
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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