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First recorded around 1538, from the Latin verb explōdere meaning to "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.



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

  1. (transitive) To create an explosion, usually resulting in the destruction of an intended target.
    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.
    Explode the assembly drawing so that all the fasteners are visible.
  4. (transitive, archaic) To disprove or debunk.
    • Burton, Robert, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II, 344
      Astrology is required by many famous physicians... doubted of, and exploded by others.
  5. (intransitive) To blast, to blow up, to burst, to detonate, to go off.
    The bomb explodes.
  6. (figuratively, intransitive) To make a violent or emotional outburst.
    She exploded when I criticised her hat.
    • 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. (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.





  1. second-person singular present active imperative of explodō