Word Origin & History
1530s, from L. explodere "drive out or off by clapping," 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" + plaudere "to clap, applaud," of uncertain origin. English used it to mean "drive out
with violence and sudden noise" (1650s), later, "go off with a loud noise" (Amer.Eng. 1790); sense of "to burst with destructive force" is first recorded 1882; of population, 1959. Related: Exploded; exploding.