Student Dictionary

2 entries found for explode.
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Main Entry: ex·plode
Pronunciation: ik-primarystresssplomacrd
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): ex·plod·ed; ex·plod·ing
Etymology: from Latin explaudere "to drive off the stage by clapping," from ex- "out, away" and plaudere "to clap" --related to APPLAUD, PLAUDIT, PLAUSIBLE --see Word History at PLAUSIBLE
1 : to cause to be given up or rejected <science has exploded many old theories>
2 a : to burst or cause to burst with violence and noise <the boiler exploded> b : to go through a rapid chemical or nuclear reaction with the production of noise, heat, and violent expansion of gases <the bomb exploded>
3 : to burst forth <exploded with laughter> <zoomed out of the alley and exploded into the street> <talk exploded around them>
Word History Theatergoers in ancient Rome could be noisy in showing both their enjoyment and their dislike of a performance. One of the ways they made noise was by clapping their hands loudly. The Latin verb plaudere meant "to make a noise by loud clapping." When the Romans were showing their approval of a performance, the word used was applaudere, from which we get our English word applaud. When the Romans did not like a performance, they often drove the performer from the stage by loud claps. The word for this was explaudere, from the prefix ex-, meaning "out, away," and plaudere. It is from this word that we get our English word explode. In the beginning, the English word explode had the meaning "to drive from the stage by a noisy expression of dislike." But this sense has all but disappeared. Other meanings that have either the idea of disapproval or the idea of violent noise have since come into wide use.

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