Meaning of BOMB in English


I. bomb 1 S3 W3 /bɒm $ bɑːm/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: French ; Origin: bombe , from Italian bomba , probably from Latin bombus 'deep sound' , from Greek bombos , from the sound ]

1 . WEAPON a weapon made of material that will explode:

The bomb went off at 9.30 in the morning.

Enemy planes dropped over 200 bombs during the raid.

He was killed in a bomb explosion.

⇨ ↑ smoke bomb , ↑ stink bomb

2 . BAD PERFORMANCE/EVENT American English informal a play, film, event etc that is not successful:

This is just another one of Hollywood’s bland and boring bombs.

3 . be the bomb informal to be very good or exciting:

That new P Diddy CD is the bomb.

4 . the bomb used to describe ↑ nuclear weapons, and especially the ↑ hydrogen bomb :

Voices of dissent began to rise against the bomb.

5 . cost a bomb British English informal to cost a lot of money

6 . make a bomb British English informal to get a lot of money by doing something

• • •


■ verbs

▪ a bomb explodes/goes off

Forty people were injured when the bomb exploded.


A 200 pound bomb went off in the car park.

▪ set off a bomb ( also detonate a bomb formal ) (=make a bomb explode)

The area was cleared and the police safely detonated the bomb.

▪ drop a bomb (=from a plane)

Government forces began dropping bombs on rebel positions.

▪ a bomb falls on something

A bomb fell on the cathedral during the war.

▪ plant a bomb (=put a bomb somewhere)

It is thought that right-wing extremists planted the bomb.


▪ a nuclear/hydrogen bomb

The North Koreans were developing a nuclear bomb.

▪ an atom/atomic bomb

Oppenheimer was the father of the atomic bomb.

▪ a neutron bomb (=that kills people but does not damage buildings much)

▪ a car bomb (=that makes a car explode)

The car bomb killed 21 shoppers.

▪ a letter bomb ( also a parcel bomb British English ) (=sent in a letter or parcel)

A second letter bomb was found among the unopened mail.

▪ a time bomb (=that is set to explode at a particular time)

The terrorists’ time bomb was planned to cause the maximum carnage.

▪ a petrol bomb British English (=containing petrol)

A petrol bomb was hurled at police as they chased the car.

▪ a nail bomb (=containing nails)

▪ a cluster bomb (=that sends out smaller bombs when it explodes)

▪ a dirty bomb (=that spreads radioactive material)

▪ a smart bomb (=that is guided to the right place)

▪ a terrorist bomb

The aircraft was blown apart by a terrorist bomb.

▪ a suicide bomb (=the person carrying the bomb dies when it explodes)

Each time there is a suicide bomb it is a new blow to peace.

▪ a homemade bomb

Officers discovered several homemade bombs in the trunk of his car.

▪ an unexploded bomb

The workmen found an unexploded bomb.

■ bomb + NOUN

▪ a bomb blast/explosion

The restaurant was destroyed in a massive bomb blast.

▪ a bomb attack

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb attack.

▪ a bomb threat (=when someone leaves a message saying there is a bomb somewhere)

He delayed his flight home because of a bomb threat.

▪ a bomb scare (=when people think there might be a bomb somewhere)

The building was evacuated after a bomb scare.

▪ bomb disposal (=the job of dealing with bombs that have not exploded)

a bomb disposal expert

▪ bomb-making equipment

Police found guns and bomb-making equipment in the house.

• • •


▪ bomb a weapon that explodes:

The bomb exploded on a bus in Jerusalem during the city’s morning rush hour.


Fifty-five people were injured in a car bomb attack in Baghdad.


Morrow was convicted in 1998 of sending four letter bombs (=a small bomb hidden in a package and sent to someone in order to hurt or kill them) to government officials.


People were worried that terrorists would try to detonate a dirty bomb (=a bomb that contains nuclear materials ) in the city centre.

▪ explosives bombs or substances that can cause explosions:

They used explosives to blow the door off the front of the building.


The car was packed with 1,000 lbs of high explosives (=powerful explosives) .

▪ device a bomb – used especially in news reports:

Police found the device hidden in a suitcase.


A bomb threat was received and the building was evacuated, but no device was found.

▪ IED a bomb that has been made using whatever materials are available, especially one used to blow up soldiers travelling through a place. IED is short for ‘improvised explosive device’:

Several soldiers were killed when an IED exploded as their convoy drove by.

▪ mine a type of bomb that is hidden just below the ground or under water, and that explodes when it is touched:

The fields are still full of landmines.


The ship struck a mine and sank.

▪ grenade ( also hand grenade ) a small bomb that can be thrown by hand or fired from a special gun:

He pulled the pin and threw a grenade toward the enemy’s position.

II. bomb 2 BrE AmE verb

1 . [transitive] to attack a place by leaving a bomb there, or by dropping bombs on it from a plane:

The town was heavily bombed in World War II.

Government aircraft have been bombing civilian areas.

⇨ ↑ carpet-bomb , ↑ dive-bomb

2 . [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] British English informal to move or drive very quickly:

Suddenly a police car came bombing down the high street.

3 . [intransitive and transitive] American English informal to fail a test very badly:

I bombed my midterm.

4 . [intransitive] American English if a play, film, event etc bombs, it is not successful:

His latest play bombed on Broadway.

be bombed out phrasal verb

if a building or the people in it are bombed out, the building is completely destroyed:

My family were bombed out in 1941.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.