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[ik-sploh-zhuh n] /ɪkˈsploʊ ʒən/
an act or instance of exploding; a violent expansion or bursting with noise, as of gunpowder or a boiler (opposed to implosion).
the noise itself:
The loud explosion woke them.
a violent outburst, as of laughter or anger.
a sudden, rapid, or great increase:
a population explosion.
the burning of the mixture of fuel and air in an internal-combustion engine.
Phonetics, plosion.
Origin of explosion
1615-25; < Latin explōsiōn- (stem of explōsiō), equivalent to explōs(us) driven off by clapping (past participle of explōdere to explode) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
postexplosion, adjective
preexplosion, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for explosion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Commandant seemed on the verge of an explosion, but checked himself.

    Fort Amity Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • This explosion of the doctor's meant that he invited and awaited some contradiction.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • These emphatic words were received with an explosion of laughter by the workers.

    The Fourth Estate, vol.1 Armando Palacio Valds
  • It fell slowly, with a crash that was like a faint echo of the explosion.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Mr. S.M. Hussey and his wife slept in the front, and they were much affected by the explosion.

British Dictionary definitions for explosion


the act or an instance of exploding
a violent release of energy resulting from a rapid chemical or nuclear reaction, esp one that produces a shock wave, loud noise, heat, and light Compare implosion (sense 1)
a sudden or violent outburst of activity, noise, emotion, etc
a rapid increase, esp in a population
(phonetics) another word for plosion
Word Origin
C17: from Latin explōsiō, from explōdere to explode
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 explosion

1620s, "action of driving out with violence and noise," from French explosion, from Latin explosionem (nominative explosio), noun of action from past participle stem of explodere "drive out by clapping" (see explode for origin and sense evolution). Meaning "going off with violence and noise" is from 1660s. Sense of "rapid increase or development" is first attested 1953.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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explosion in Science
A violent blowing apart or bursting caused by energy released from a very fast chemical reaction, a nuclear reaction, or the escape of gases under pressure.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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