Meaning of DETONATE in English

det ‧ o ‧ nate /ˈdetəneɪt/ BrE AmE verb [intransitive and transitive]

[ Date: 1700-1800 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: detonare , from tonare 'to thunder' ]

to explode or to make something explode

—detonation /ˌdetəˈneɪʃ ə n/ noun [uncountable]

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■ to make something explode

▪ explode verb [transitive] to make a bomb burst suddenly and violently with a loud noise:

The terrorists planned to explode a car bomb outside the US embassy.

▪ set off phrasal verb to make a bomb explode, either deliberately or accidentally. Set off is less formal than explode and is the usual phrase to use in everyday English:

The group set off a bomb outside a crowded cafe in Izmir last September.


Police say radio signals were probably used to set the bomb off.

▪ detonate /ˈdetəneɪt/ verb [transitive] to make a bomb explode, especially by using special equipment. Detonate is a more technical word than set off :

Army experts detonated the bomb safely in a nearby field.


The 200 kg bomb was detonated by terrorists using a remote-control device.

▪ let off phrasal verb British English to deliberately make a bomb explode:

Terrorists let off a bomb in the city centre.


The bomb was let off shortly before 3 pm.

▪ blow up phrasal verb to make a building, car, plane etc explode:

He was involved in a plot to blow up a passenger jet.


He struck a match and blew the whole place up.

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