Etymology
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Words related to bomb

shell (n.)

"hard outer covering," Middle English shel, shelle, from Old English sciell, scill, Anglian scell "seashell; eggshell," which is related to Old English scealu "shell, husk," from Proto-Germanic *skaljo "piece cut off; shell; scale" (source also of West Frisian skyl "peel, rind," Middle Low German schelle "pod, rind, egg shell," Gothic skalja "tile"), with the shared notion of "covering that splits off," from PIE root *skel- (1) "to cut." Italian scaglia "chip" is from Germanic.

Also in late Old English as "a coating or layer." The general sense of "protective outer covering of some invertebrates" is in Middle English (by c. 1400 as "house of a snail;" by 1540s in reference to a tortoise or turtle); the meaning "outer layer of a nut" (or a fruit considered as a nut) is by mid-14c. With notion of "mere exterior," hence "empty or hollow thing" by 1650s. The meaning "hollow framework" is from 1791; that of "structure for a band or orchestra" is attested from 1938. To be out of (one's) shell "emerged into life" is by 1550s.

Military use for "explosive projectile" is by 1640s, first of hand grenades, and originally in reference to the metal case in which the gunpowder and shot were mixed; the notion is of a "hollow object" filled with explosives. Hence shell shock, "traumatic reaction to the stress of battle," recorded by 1915.

Shell game "a swindle" is from 1890, from a version of the three-card game played with a pea and walnut shells.

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bombing (n.)

"an attack with bombs," 1610s, verbal noun from bomb (v.).

bombard (n.)

early 15c., "catapult, military engine for throwing large stones" ("The name generally given in Europe to the cannon during the 1st century of its use," says Century Dictionary), from Old French bombarde "mortar, catapult" (14c.), from bombe (see bomb (n.)). The same word, from the same source, was used in English and French late 14c. in reference to the bass shawm, a low-pitched bassoon-like musical instrument, preserving the "buzzing" sense in the Latin.

bomb-proof (adj.)

"strong enough to resist the impact and explosive force of bombs or shells striking on the outside" [Century Dictionary], 1702, from bomb (n.) + proof (n.). As a noun, "underground structure strong enough to resist the impact and explosive force of bombs," 1755. In the U.S. Civil War it was a contemptuous term for men not exposed to the dangers of war.

bombshell (n.)

also bomb-shell, 1708, "mortar-thrown shell which explodes upon falling," from bomb (n.) + shell (n.).

BOMB, or BOMB SHELL, now called simply Shell (Fr. Bombe). A hollow iron ball or shell filled with gunpowder, having a vent or fuze-hole into which a fuzee is fitted to set the powder on fire after the shell is thrown out of a mortar. This destructive missile is intended to do injury both by its force in falling, and by bursting after it falls. [Arthur Young, "Nautical Dictionary," London, 1863]

The figurative sense of "shattering or devastating thing or event" is attested by 1859. In reference to a pretty woman "of startling vitality or physique" [OED], especially a blonde, it is attested by 1942. "Bombshell" as title of a movie starring blond U.S. actress Jean Harlow (1911-1937) is from 1933; it was believed to have been loosely based on the life of screen star Clara Bow.

The producers of the current hilarious Jean Harlow-Lee Tracy photoplay were not satisfied with the original title "Bombshell" so they renamed it "The Blond Bombshell." We wonder, in passing, why they didn't call it "The Private Life of Clara Bow" originally and let it go at that. [The Oklahoma News, Nov. 19, 1933]
boom (v.)

mid-15c., bomben, bummyn, "buzz, hum, drone, make a deep, hollow, continuous sound" (earliest use was in reference to bees and wasps), probably echoic of humming. The meaning "make a loud noise, roar, rumble, reverberate" is from 15c. Compare bomb. The meaning "to burst into prosperity" (of places, businesses, etc.) is by 1871, American English. Related: Boomed; booming. Boom box "large portable stereo cassette player" is attested from 1978.

bound (v.2)

"to leap, spring upward, jump," 1590s, from French bondir "to rebound, resound, echo," from Old French bondir "to leap, jump, rebound;" originally "make a noise, sound (a horn), beat (a drum)," 13c., ultimately "to echo back," from Vulgar Latin *bombitire "to buzz, hum" (see bomb (n.)), perhaps on model of Old French tentir, from Vulgar Latin *tinnitire.

firebomb (n.)

also fire-bomb, 1895 (earlier as a type of fireworks and a type of cannonball), from fire (n.) + bomb (n.). As a verb, from 1950 as an act of vandalism or terrorism, from 1941 as a military aviation tactic. Related: Firebombed; firebombing.

bomber (n.)

"one who throws bombs," 1915, agent noun from bomb (v.). Used in the U.S. Civil War (1863) in reference to mortar-mounted flat-bottomed river-boats in the Vicksburg campaign. As a type of military aircraft, from 1917.

carpet-bombing (n.)

"the dropping of a large number of bombs on an entire area to inflict intense damage," 1945, from carpet (v.) + bomb (v.). Related: Carpet-bomb; carpet-bombed.