Detonate Definition

detonated, detonates, detonating
detonated, detonates, detonating
To explode or cause to explode.
American Heritage
To explode violently and noisily.
Webster's New World
To cause (a bomb, dynamite, etc.) to explode.
Webster's New World

(intransitive) To explode; to blow up. Specifically, to combust supersonically via shock compression.


Origin of Detonate

  • From Latin detonāre. It meant "to stop thundering", e.g. as in weather (de- = "from", tonare = "to thunder"). The current English meaning seems to be a new formation in postclassical times.

    From Wiktionary

  • Latin dētonāre dētonāt- to thunder down dē- de- tonāre to thunder (s)tenə- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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