an explosion.
a violent argument, outburst of temper, or the like, especially one resulting in estrangement.
Also, blow-up. an enlargement of a photograph.
(of the wind or air) to be in motion.
to move along, carried by or as by the wind:
Dust seemed to blow through every crack in the house.
to produce or emit a current of air, as with the mouth or a bellows:
Blow on your hands to warm them.
(of a horn, trumpet, etc.) to give out sound.
to make a blowing sound; whistle:
The siren blew just as we rounded the corner.
(of horses) to breathe hard or quickly; pant.
Informal. to boast; brag:
He kept blowing about his medals.
Zoology. (of a whale) to spout.
(of a fuse, light bulb, vacuum tube, tire, etc.) to burst, melt, stop functioning, or be destroyed by exploding, overloading, etc. (often followed by out):
A fuse blew just as we sat down to dinner. The rear tire blew out.
to burst from internal pressure:
Poorly sealed cans will often blow.
Slang. to leave; depart.
to drive by means of a current of air:
A sudden breeze blew the smoke into the house.
to spread or make widely known:
Growing panic blew the rumor about.
to drive a current of air upon.
to clear or empty by forcing air through:
Try blowing your nose.
to shape (glass, smoke, etc.) with a current of air:
to blow smoke rings.
to cause to sound, as by a current of air:
Blow your horn at the next crossing.
Jazz. to play (a musical instrument of any kind).
to cause to explode (often followed by up, to bits, etc.):
A mine blew the ship to bits.
to burst, melt, burn out, or destroy by exploding, overloading, etc. (often followed by out):
to blow a tire; blow a fuse.
to destroy; demolish (usually followed by down, over, etc.):
The windstorm blew down his house.

to spend money on.
to squander; spend quickly:
He blew a fortune on racing cars.
to waste; lose:
The team blew the lead by making a bad play.

Informal. to mishandle, ruin, botch; make a mess of; bungle:
With one stupid mistake he blew the whole project. It was your last chance and you blew it!
Slang. to damn:
Blow the cost!
to put (a horse) out of breath by fatigue.
Slang. to depart from:
to blow town.
Slang: Vulgar. to perform fellatio on.
Slang. to smoke (marijuana or other drugs).
a blast of air or wind:
to clean machinery with a blow.
Informal. a violent windstorm, gale, hurricane, or the like:
one of the worst blows we ever had around here.
an act of producing a blast of air, as in playing a wind instrument:
a few discordant blows by the bugler.

a blast of air forced through a converter, as in the production of steel or copper.
the stage of the production process during which this blast is used.

Civil Engineering, boil1 (def 12).
Slang. cocaine.
blow away, Slang.

to kill, especially by gunfire:
The gang threatened to blow away anyone who talked to the police.
to defeat decisively; trounce:
She blew her opponent away in three straight sets.
to overwhelm with emotion, astonishment, etc.:
Good poetry just blows me away.

blow down, Metallurgy. to suspend working of (a blast furnace) by smelting the existing charge with a diminishing blast.
blow in,

Slang. to arrive at a place, especially unexpectedly:
My uncle just blew in from Sacramento.
Metallurgy. to begin operations in (a blast furnace).

blow off,

to allow steam to be released.
Informal. to reduce or release tension, as by loud talking.
Informal. to ignore, evade, or treat as unimportant:
I mentioned his insulting remark, and he just blew the whole thing off.
Informal. to not go to or participate in:
He blew off his first-period class three times that week.
Informal. to fail to meet (someone) as planned without alerting the person beforehand:
I waited 20 minutes before I realized my sister had blown me off.
Informal. to end a romantic or other relationship with:
He blew me off after our third date.

blow out,

to become extinguished:
The candles blew out at once.
to lose force or cease:
The storm has blown itself out.
(of an oil or gas well) to lose oil or gas uncontrollably.
Metallurgy. to blow down and clean (a blast furnace) in order to shut down.

blow over,

to pass away; subside:
The storm blew over in five minutes.
to be forgotten:
The scandal will eventually blow over.

blow up,

to come into being:
A storm suddenly blew up.
to explode:
The ship blew up.
to cause to explode:
to blow up a bridge.
to exaggerate; enlarge:
He blew up his own role in his account of the project.
Informal. to lose one’s temper:
When he heard she had quit school, he blew up.
to fill with air; inflate:
to blow up a tire.
Photography. to make an enlarged reproduction of.
Mathematics. (of a function) to become infinite.

blow hot and cold, to favor something at first and reject it later on; waver; vacillate:
His enthusiasm for the job blows hot and cold.
blow off steam, Informal. steam (def 23).
Also, let off steam.
blow one’s cool, Slang. to lose one’s composure; become angry, frantic, or flustered.
blow one’s cover. cover (def 52).
blow one’s lines, Theater. to forget or make an error in a speaking part or stage directions.
blow one’s mind. mind (def 36).
blow one’s stack. stack (def 23).
blow one’s top. top1 (def 43).
Contemporary Examples

Clues From SpaceShipTwo’s Wreckage: Did the Crew Compartment Fail? Clive Irving November 1, 2014
Why Epilepsy, Not Henry Wachtel, Is to Blame for Teen’s Mother’s Death Michael Daly April 26, 2012
Obama Gets Tough David Frum January 15, 2013
How a Thumb-Sized Gauge Is Revolutionizing Traumatic Brain Injuries Brian Castner March 22, 2014
Forty-Five Foiled Terror Plots Since 9/11 John Avlon September 8, 2011

Historical Examples

A German deserter’s war experience Anonymous
Lafayette Martha Foote Crow
The Rover Boys on Treasure Isle Edward Stratemeyer (AKA Arthur M. Winfield)
Eric Mrs. S. B. C. Samuels
Rejected of Men Howard Pyle

verb (adverb)
to explode or cause to explode
(transitive) to increase the importance of (something): they blew the whole affair up
(intransitive) to come into consideration: we lived well enough before this thing blew up
(intransitive) to come into existence with sudden force: a storm had blown up
(informal) to lose one’s temper (with a person)
(transitive) (informal) to reprimand (someone)
(transitive) (informal) to enlarge the size or detail of (a photograph)
an explosion
(informal) an enlarged photograph or part of a photograph
(informal) a fit of temper or argument
(informal) Also called blowing up. a reprimand
verb blows, blowing, blew, blown
(of a current of air, the wind, etc) to be or cause to be in motion
(intransitive) to move or be carried by or as if by wind or air: a feather blew in through the window
to expel (air, cigarette smoke, etc) through the mouth or nose
to force or cause (air, dust, etc) to move (into, in, over, etc) by using an instrument or by expelling breath
(intransitive) to breathe hard; pant
(sometimes foll by up) to inflate with air or the breath
(intransitive) (of wind, a storm, etc) to make a roaring or whistling sound
to cause (a whistle, siren, etc) to sound by forcing air into it, as a signal, or (of a whistle, etc) to sound thus
(transitive) to force air from the lungs through (the nose) to clear out mucus or obstructing matter
often foll by up, down, in, etc. to explode, break, or disintegrate completely: the bridge blew down in the gale
(electronics) to burn out (a fuse, valve, etc) because of excessive current or (of a fuse, valve, etc) to burn out
(slang) blow a fuse, to lose one’s temper
(intransitive) (of a whale) to spout water or air from the lungs
(transitive) to wind (a horse) by making it run excessively
to cause (a wind instrument) to sound by forcing one’s breath into the mouthpiece, or (of such an instrument) to sound in this way
(intransitive) (jazz, slang) to play in a jam session
(intransitive) (of flies) to lay eggs (in)
to shape (glass, ornaments, etc) by forcing air or gas through the material when molten
(intransitive) (mainly Scot & Austral, NZ) to boast or brag
(transitive) (slang)

to spend (money) freely
(US) to treat or entertain

(transitive) (slang) to use (an opportunity) ineffectively
(slang) to go suddenly away (from)
(transitive) (slang) to expose or betray (a person or thing meant to be kept secret)
(transitive) (US, slang) to inhale (a drug)
(intransitive) (slang) to masturbate
(informal) (past part) blowed another word for damn I’ll be blowed, blow it!
(draughts) another word for huff (sense 4)
blow hot and cold, to vacillate
blow a kiss, blow kisses, to kiss one’s hand, then blow across it as if to carry the kiss through the air to another person
blow one’s own trumpet, to boast of one’s own skills or good qualities
(slang) blow someone’s mind

(of a drug, esp LSD) to alter someone’s mental state
especially (US & Canadian) to astound or surprise someone

(informal) blow one’s top, especially (US & Canadian) blow one’s stack, blow one’s lid, to lose one’s temper
the act or an instance of blowing
the sound produced by blowing
a blast of air or wind

a stage in the Bessemer process in which air is blasted upwards through molten pig iron
the quantity of metal treated in a Bessemer converter


a rush of air into a mine
the collapse of a mine roof

(jazz, slang) a jam session

(Brit) a slang name for cannabis (sense 2)
(US) a slang name for cocaine

a powerful or heavy stroke with the fist, a weapon, etc
at one blow, at a blow, by or with only one action; all at one time
a sudden setback; unfortunate event: to come as a blow
come to blows

to fight
to result in a fight

an attacking action: a blow for freedom
(Austral & NZ) a stroke of the shears in sheep-shearing
verb blows, blowing, blew, blown
(intransitive) (of a plant or flower) to blossom or open out
(transitive) to produce (flowers)
a mass of blossoms
the state or period of blossoming (esp in the phrase in full blow)

LIKE a hungry kitten loves its saucer of warm milk, so do radio fans joyfully listen to the blow-by-blow broadcast description of a boxing bout. [“The Wireless Age,” December 1922]

To enlarge a photograph (1930s+)
BLOW one’s TOP
To forget or garble one’s lines on stage; balloon: Barrymore ”blew up” in his lines (1900s+ Theater)

To do or perform something, esp to do it well: He blows great conversation (1950s+ Beat & cool talk)
Cocaine: ok, he gets busted for blow eight times/ Hell, half the people doing blow are reacting to the cut (1960s+ Narcotics)

To play a musical instrument, esp in jazz style and not necessarily a wind instrument: There will be three kids blowing guitar, banjo, and washboard/ This music is the culmination of all my writing and blowing (1900s+ Jazz musicians)
To do fellatio or cunnilingus; suck off (1930s+)
To be disgusting, nasty, worthless, etc; bite, suck: This blows and you do too (1970s+)
To treat someone to something; buy something expensive or unusual for someone: I blew myself to a new pair of shoes (1870s+)
(also blow something in) To spend money, esp foolishly and all at once: The state blew my money buying votes for Roosevelt/ And blow it in on smokes (1890s+)
To take a narcotic, esp but not necessarily by inhalation: Jimi blew every kind of dope invented/ I don’t know how you can blow dust and eat (1920+)
To smoke marijuana; blow smoke: He enjoys sex; he does not blow grass (1960s+ Narcotics)
To leave; depart; split: I’m blowing, I got a job in Detroit (1902+)
To lose or ruin something by mistake, inattention, incompetence, etc; blow it: I blew the best chance I ever had (1920+)
To forget or botch one’s part in a show (1920s+ Theater)
blow off
To inform against someone; sing (1840s+)
To expose or publicize something secret, esp something scandalous: Treat me right or I’ll blow it about the love nest (late 1500s+)
To lose one’s temper; BLOW one’s TOP (1900s+)
(also blow off) To brag; TOOT one’s OWN HORN (1400+)
To sing, esp to sing well (1980s+ College students)

A fit of anger (1800s+)
A quarrel; violent rift between persons (1800s+)
A photographic or other enlargement: He already has a blowup of your proverb on a wall of his breakfast room (1930s+)

Explode or cause to explode. For example, The squadron was told to blow up the bridge, or Jim was afraid his experiment would blow up the lab. The term is sometimes amplified, as in blow up in one’s face. [ Late 1500s ]
Lose one’s temper, as in I’m sorry I blew up at you. Mark Twain used this metaphor for an actual explosion in one of his letters (1871): “Redpath tells me to blow up. Here goes!” [ ; second half of 1800s ]
Inflate, fill with air, as in If you don’t blow up those tires you’re sure to have a flat. [ Early 1400s ]
Enlarge, especially a photograph, as in If we blow up this picture, you’ll be able to make out the expressions on their faces. [ c. 1930 ]
Exaggerate the importance of something or someone, as in Tom has a tendency to blow up his own role in the affair. This term applies the “inflate” of def. 3 to importance. It was used in this sense in England from the early 1500s to the 1700s, but then became obsolete there although it remains current in America.
Collapse, fail, as in Graduate-student marriages often blow up soon after the couple earn their degrees. [ ; mid-1800s ]

blow a fuse
blow away
blow by blow
blow hot and cold
blow in
blow it
blow off
blow off steam
blow one’s brains out
blow one’s cool
blow one’s cover
blow one’s mind
blow one’s own horn
blow one’s top
blow out
blow over
blow sky-high
blow someone to
blow the lid off
blow the whistle on
blow up


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