- Any of a class of powerful explosives composed of nitroglycerin or ammonium nitrate dispersed in an absorbent medium with a combustible dope, such as wood pulp, and an antacid, such as calcium carbonate, used in blasting and mining.
a. Something exceptionally exciting or wonderful.
b. Something exceptionally dangerous: These allegations are political dynamite.
transitive verbdy·na·mit·ed, dy·na·mit·ing, dy·na·mites
To blow up, shatter, or otherwise destroy with dynamite.
Outstanding; superb: a dynamite performance; a dynamite outfit.
Origin of dynamite
Swedish dynamit from
Greek dunamis power
; see dynamic
Related Forms:Word History:
The Nobel Prizes were established by the Swedish chemist and industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) with funds from his immense personal fortune, amassed in part through the manufacture of explosives and armaments. Nobel was the inventor of dynamite—he had discovered that the highly explosive chemical compound nitroglycerine could be made easier to transport and handle if it was mixed with an inert substance. To name his mixture, Nobel invented the word dynamite.
Originally coined in Swedish in the form dynamit,
the word was compounded from Greek dunamis,
“power,” and the Swedish suffix -it,
which corresponds to the English suffix -ite
used to form the names of rocks, minerals, commercial products, and other substances. Greek dunamis
also gave us words such as dynamic
and dynamo. Dunamis
is related to the Greek verb dunasthai,
“to be able,” from which comes English dynasty,
denoting a family or group that wields power over several generations.
- A class of explosives made from nitroglycerine in an absorbent medium such as kieselguhr, used in mining and blasting; invented by Alfred Nobel in 1867.
- (figuratively) Anything exceptionally dangerous, exciting or wonderful.
(third-person singular simple present dynamites, present participle dynamiting, simple past and past participle dynamited)
- To blow up with dynamite or other high explosive.
Origin See also: dynamité
Coined by Nobel, the inventor. Ultimately from Ancient Greek δύναμις (dunamis, “power”) + -ite, possibly under the influence of dynamo or dynamic.