Military. a projectile, formerly usually spherical, filled with a bursting charge and exploded by means of a fuze, by impact, or otherwise, now generally designed to be dropped from an aircraft.
any similar missile or explosive device used as a weapon, to disperse crowds, etc.:
a time bomb; a smoke bomb.
Also called volcan·ic bomb·. Geology. a rough spherical or ellipsoidal mass of lava, ejected from a volcano and hardened while falling.
weather bomb.
aerosol bomb.
Football. a long forward pass, especially one to a teammate who scores a touchdown.
Slang. an absolute failure; fiasco:
The play was a bomb and closed after two performances.
Synonyms: flop, dud, bust, washout.
Computers. a spectacular program failure or system failure.
Slang. the bomb, something or someone that is excellent or very impressive:
Her boyfriend is the bomb!
Chiefly British Slang. an overwhelming success:
The novel is selling like a bomb.
Jazz. a sudden, unexpected accent or rhythmic figure played by a drummer during a performance.
a lead or lead-lined container for transporting and storing radioactive materials.
the bomb.

atomic bomb.
nuclear weapons collectively.

Slang. a powerful automobile or other vehicle.
Slang. something unpleasant that is unexpected or shocking (often used in combination with the first letter of an offensive or unmentionable word, as in f-bomb; s-bomb; n-bomb): He’s always dropping the f-bomb.
Then came the bomb about the staff cuts.
Synonyms: bombshell, shocker, kicker, surprise, bolt from the blue.
Slang. something unauthorized or illegal that is executed in a stealthy manner, typically having an overwhelming or sensational effect (used in combination, as in mail bomb; graffiti bomb).
to hurl bombs at or drop bombs upon, as from an airplane; bombard:
The enemy planes bombed the city.
to explode by means of a bomb or explosive.
Computers. to deliberately cause (a computer system) to fail with a program written for the purpose.
to hurl or drop bombs.
to explode a bomb or bombs.
Slang. to be or make a complete failure, especially to fail to please or gain an audience (sometimes followed by out): His last play bombed on Broadway.
The business bombed out with a $25,000 debt.
Synonyms: fail, flop.
(of a computer program or system) to fail spectacularly.
Slang. to spray-paint graffiti over many surfaces in an area, working quickly and using simple forms and designs:
He made his reputation bombing on the east side of town.
Informal. to move very quickly:
They came bombing through here on their motorcycles at 2 a.m.
Contemporary Examples

Don Carpenter Was a Novelist Both Lacerating and Forgiving Louis B. Jones July 13, 2014
The Fugitive Guru Ben Crair June 20, 2011
Secrets of 9/11’s Mystery Man Philip Shenon April 24, 2011
Bin Laden Message to France: Full Court Press on Afghanistan Bruce Riedel January 20, 2011
New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019 Dave Majumdar December 30, 2014

Historical Examples

Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez. Vol II Sir John Ross
My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls Edith Van Dyne (AKA L. Frank Baum)
City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley


a hollow projectile containing an explosive, incendiary, or other destructive substance, esp one carried by aircraft
(as modifier): bomb disposal, a bomb bay
(in combination): a bombload, bombproof

any container filled with explosive: a car bomb, a letter bomb
the bomb

a hydrogen or atomic bomb considered as the ultimate destructive weapon
(slang) something excellent: it’s the bomb

a round or pear-shaped mass of volcanic rock, solidified from molten lava that has been thrown into the air
(med) a container for radioactive material, applied therapeutically to any part of the body: a cobalt bomb
(Brit, slang) a large sum of money (esp in the phrase make a bomb)
(US & Canadian, slang) a disastrous failure: the new play was a total bomb
(Austral & NZ, slang) an old or dilapidated motorcar
(American football) a very long high pass
(in rugby union) another term for up-and-under
(Brit & NZ, informal) like a bomb, with great speed or success; very well (esp in the phrase go like a bomb)
to attack with or as if with a bomb or bombs; drop bombs (on)
(intransitive; often foll by off, along, etc) (informal) to move or drive very quickly
(intransitive) (slang) to fail disastrously; be a flop: the new play bombed See also bomb out

A conspicuous and total failure; blast, flop (1950s+ Show business)
A car, esp a hot rod (1950s+ Hot rodders)
(also bomber) An especially big marijuana cigarette (1950s+ Narcotics)
Heroin (1950s+ Narcotics)
Something very good: teenagers come home from a movie and say it was a ”bomb,” yet insist on seeing it again and again (1990s+ Teenagers)

: The show bombed everywhere on the road/ I took the test, and bombed (1960s+ Show business)
To dovery well at or on: I really bombed the math test, aced it (1960s+ Students)
To go very fast; plunge: found the discarded relics ideal for bombing down the dirt slopes of Mt Tam (1960s+)
To paint graffiti on; tag: His favorite stylin’-and-bombin’ wall, tagged with the rebellious urban scrawl of graffiti artists (1980s+)

see: time bomb


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