(Explode / Burst / Blow up / Make go off) a bridge

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
  • A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Thank you; But you did not mentioned why you do not use the verbs "Burst" and "Explode" or rather what is the Symantec difference between these three verbs?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would burst a balloon (i.e. something which is full of air; bubbles can be burst as well) but not a bridge (which I would blow up, as SS says - not that I have any intention of doing any such thing!:D). And you cannot 'explode' something: you have to 'make it explode': I made the bridge explode is I suppose possible, but not at all natural, in my opinion.;)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Unless the bridge is made of dynamite, C-4 or other explosive material, you cannot "explode a bridge."

    Unless the bridge is a balloon or some other container, you cannot burst it.

    The word you want is:

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    semantic /sɪˈmæntɪk/adj
    • of or relating to meaning or arising from distinctions between the meanings of different words or symbols
    • of or relating to semantics


    Symantec (upper-case) is a software company specializing in computer security.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Thank you dear Sdgraham as usual
    But I think you mean that:
    1) We are able to "explode" only explosive things such as a bomb, dynamite, mine or etc.
    2) We are able to "burst" containers such as a balloon, a tire, a store, a truck and etc.
    3) We are able to "blow up" other things such as a bridge!
    Am I right? :)
    But what about the phrasal verb "make something go off"?
     
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    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    As I mention above, you can burst a bubble or a balloon, things of that nature, certainly not a store (shop) or a truck (lorry).;) I agree we can only explode 'explosive' things such as bombs and dynamite.;)
    To make something go off : a timer will make a bomb go off, but dynamite will not make a bridge/store/truck go off (it will blow them up) and a needle will not make a balloon go off, it will burst it).** ;)

    **Oddly enough, however, it is perfectly acceptable to say I pricked the balloon with a needle, which made it go off with a bang.;)
     
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    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    The word "explode" is related etymologically to the word "applause". If the ancient Romans did not like a performer, the audience would make so much noise with claps and shouts that the performer would have to leave the stage. This is the oldest, and now archaic, meaning of explode: "to drive from the stage my noisy disapproval", as M-W puts it.

    Building on that idea comes another meaning of "explode" as a transitive verb, and it is a meaning that is still in use: to discredit something, or to cause something (such as an idea or theory) to be rejected, or held in disrepute.

    An investigation of airline records exploded the accused smuggler's claim that he had never been in Mexico.
    At the conference next week, Professor Smith is going to present a paper that will explode Professor Jones's theory that borogoves are related to jabberwocks.

    It is therefore possible to explode something other than a bomb -- but that is not the meaning you have in mind here.
     
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