blow up

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blow up (third-person singular simple present blows up, present participle blowing up, simple past blew up, past participle blown up)

  1. (intransitive) To explode or be destroyed by explosion.
    Why do cars in movies always blow up when they fall off a cliff?
  2. (transitive) To cause (something or someone) to explode, or to destroy (something) or maim or kill (someone) by means of an explosion.
    We had to blow up the bridge before the enemy army arrived.
    More civilians than soldiers have been blown up by anti-personnel mines.
  3. (transitive) To inflate or fill with air.
    Blow up the balloons.
  4. (transitive) To enlarge or zoom in.
    Blow up the picture to get a better look at their faces.
  5. (intransitive) To fail disastrously.
    • 2002, Joan Barfoot, Critical injuries, page 118:
      So I wish you luck, but don't come crying to me when it blows up in your face.
  6. (slang, intransitive) To become popular very quickly.
    This album is about to blow up; they’re being promoted on MTV.
  7. (slang) To suddenly get very angry.
    Dad blew up at me when I told him I was pregnant.
  8. (slang, intransitive) To relatively quickly become much more fat or rotund.

Usage notes[edit]

In senses 2, 3, and 4 the object may appear before or after the particle. If the object is a pronoun, then it must be before the particle.


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Derived terms[edit]