The word “explode”

Semantic shift is the phenomenon where words change meaning over time. English has borrowed a lot of words from Latin. One of them is the word “explode”. It originally came from Latin explodere which meant “drive out by clapping” and was used to refer to performers being driven off stage by noise.

The Latin word is made of the prefix “ex” meaning out and “plaudere” which means to clap. It changed from its original Latin meaning to mean “drive out with violence or sudden noise” in English and then to “go off with a loud noise”. It then eventually evolved to mean “bursting with a destructive force” which was first recorded in 1882

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