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[ik-splohd] /ɪkˈsploʊd/
verb (used without object), exploded, exploding.
to expand with force and noise because of rapid chemical change or decomposition, as gunpowder or nitroglycerine (opposed to implode).
to burst, fly into pieces, or break up violently with a loud report, as a boiler from excessive pressure of steam.
to burst forth violently or emotionally, especially with noise, laughter, violent speech, etc.:
He exploded with rage when contradicted.
Phonetics. (of plosives) to terminate the occlusive phase with a plosion.
Compare implode (def 2).
Golf. to play an explosion shot on a golf ball.
verb (used with object), exploded, exploding.
to cause (gunpowder, a boiler, etc.) to explode.
to cause to be rejected; destroy the repute of; discredit or disprove:
to explode a theory.
Phonetics. to end with plosion.
Golf. to play an explosion shot on (a golf ball).
Obsolete. to drive (a player, play, etc.) from the stage by loud expressions of disapprobation.
Origin of explode
1530-40; < Latin explōdere to drive off by clapping, drive away, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + plod- variant stem of plaudere to clap, beat
Related forms
exploder, noun
preexplode, verb, preexploded, preexploding.
unexploded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for explode
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One of these shelters will explode the shell or bomb, and the other receive the burst.

    The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley
  • Hurriedly he tried a half dozen more cartridges but they refused to explode.

    The Solar Magnet Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • This boat was intended to pass under a vessel's bottom, towing a torpedo after her, which was arranged to explode on contact.

  • At that very moment the Arabella seemed to explode as she swept by.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Matter in an unstable condition tends either to explode or to grow or to disintegrate.

    The Breath of Life John Burroughs
British Dictionary definitions for explode


to burst or cause to burst with great violence as a result of internal pressure, esp through the detonation of an explosive; blow up
to destroy or be destroyed in this manner: to explode a bridge
(of a gas) to undergo or cause (a gas) to undergo a sudden violent expansion, accompanied by heat, light, a shock wave, and a loud noise, as a result of a fast uncontrolled exothermic chemical or nuclear reaction
(intransitive) to react suddenly or violently with emotion, etc: to explode with anger
(intransitive) (esp of a population) to increase rapidly
(transitive) to show (a theory, etc) to be baseless; refute and make obsolete
(transitive) (phonetics) to pronounce (a stop) with audible plosion
Compare implode
Derived Forms
exploder, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin explōdere to drive off by clapping, hiss (an actor) off, from ex-1 + plaudere to clap
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 explode

1530s, "to reject with scorn," from Latin explodere "drive out or off by clapping, hiss off, hoot off," originally theatrical, "to drive an actor off the stage by making noise," hence "drive out, reject" (a sense surviving in an exploded theory), from ex- "out" (see ex-) + plaudere "to clap the hands, applaud," of uncertain origin. Athenian audiences were highly demonstrative. clapping and shouting approval, stamping, hissing, and hooting for disapproval. The Romans seem to have done likewise.

At the close of the performance of a comedy in the Roman theatre one of the actors dismissed the audience, with a request for their approbation, the expression being usually plaudite, vos plaudite, or vos valete et plaudite. [William Smith, "A First Latin Reading Book," 1890]
English used it to mean "drive out with violence and sudden noise" (1650s), later, "go off with a loud noise" (American English, 1790); sense of "to burst with destructive force" is first recorded 1882; of population, 1959. Related: Exploded; exploding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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