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First recorded around 1538, from the Latin verb explōdere (drive out or off by clapping). The meaning was originally theatrical, "to drive an actor off the stage by making noise," hence meaning to "to drive out" or "to reject". From ex- (out) + plaudere (to clap; to applaud). In English it used to mean to "drive out with violence and sudden noise" (from around 1660), and later meaning to "go off with a loud noise" (from around 1790).

The sense of "bursting with destructive force" is first recorded around 1882.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɪkˈspləʊd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɪkˈsploʊd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -əʊd


explode (third-person singular simple present explodes, present participle exploding, simple past and past participle exploded)

  1. (transitive) To destroy with an explosion.
    Synonyms: blow up, blow, blast, burst
    The assassin exploded the car by means of a car bomb.
  2. (transitive) To destroy violently or abruptly.
    They sought to explode the myth.
  3. (transitive) To create an exploded view of.
    Explode the assembly drawing so that all the fasteners are visible.
  4. (transitive, archaic) To disprove or debunk.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970:
      , II, 344
      Astrology is required by many famous physicians [] doubted of, and exploded by others.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
      [W]henever the person who is possessed of [natural goodness] doth what is right, no ravished or friendly spectator is so eager or so loud in his applause: on the contrary, when he doth wrong, no critic is so apt to hiss and explode him.
    • 1783, Richard Wooddeson, Lectures on the Law of England, 229
      Another instance of the like nature is, that the old opinion, that Turks and infidels are perpetually to be considered as alien enemies, has been long exploded.
  5. (intransitive) To fly apart with sudden violent force; to blow up, to burst, to detonate, to go off.
    The bomb explodes.
    • 2022 January 12, Benedict le Vay, “The heroes of Soham...”, in RAIL, number 948, page 43:
      But signalman Bridges was never to answer driver Gimbert's desperate question. A deafening, massive blast blew the wagon to shreds, the 44 high-explosive bombs exploding like simultaneous hits from the aircraft they should have been dropped from. The station was instantly reduced to bits of debris, and the line to a huge crater.
  6. (figuratively, intransitive) To make a violent or emotional outburst.
    Synonym: blow up
    She exploded when I criticised her hat.
    • 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair [], London: Bradbury and Evans [], published 1848, OCLC 3174108:
      Dobbin [] fell back in the crowd, crowing and sputtering until he reached a safe distance, when he exploded amongst the astonished market-people with shrieks of yelling laughter.
    • 1902, Albert R. Carman, “My Bridal Trip” (short story), in The Canadian Magazine, Volume 20, Number 1 (November 1902), page 15:
      “Nonsense!” Jack exploded at me. “Why Miss Bertram here knocked that theory into a cocked hat coming over on the train.”
  7. (figurative, intransitive) To increase suddenly.
    Synonym: blow up
    • 2016, Nathanael Johnson, Unseen City, →ISBN, page 19:
      When pigeons can come to a spot day in and day out for a guaranteed meal, their populations explode.
  8. (slang, vulgar) To ejaculate.
  9. (computing, programming, PHP) To break (a delimited string of text) into several smaller strings by removing the separators.
    • 2004, Hugh E. Williams, David Lane, Web Database Applications with PHP and MySQL
      The third check uses the exploded data stored in the array $parts and the function checkdate() to test if the date is a valid calendar date.
  10. (transitive, computing) To decompress (data) that was previously imploded.
    Synonym: unstring
    • 1992, "Steve Tibbett", PKZIP Implode compression/decompression. (on newsgroup comp.compression)
      I'm looking for some code that will implode data using the PKZIP method.. and explode it. PKWare sells an object that you can link with that does the job, and we have licensed this, but we are now writing 32 bit code for MS-DOS and the PKWare stuff won't work []
  11. (transitive) To open all doors and hatches on an automobile.
  12. (intransitive, board gaming) Of a die, to produce the highest face result and consequently reroll.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit





  1. second-person singular present active imperative of explōdō