‘Explode’ vs ‘Implode’: What’s the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on August 27, 2023

If you need to know the difference between 'explode' vs. 'implode,' I can help!

Here is the short answer: 

  • 'Explode' is a verb that means to make something burst with a lot of force or to burst from pressure within. 
  • 'Impode' is a verb that means to make something burst inward with great force or to burst inward from external pressure. 

There is much more to learn about these terms, and with similar words like these, it helps to see them being used repeatedly. That way, they are stuck in your memory.

So, keep reading!

What is the Difference Between 'Explode' vs. 'Implode?'

'Explode' and 'implode' are both verbs, but they are antonyms of each other. When something 'explodes' it bursts outward due to extreme internal pressure.

  • If you put something in the microwave and it bursts, it 'explodes.' If you light a firecracker, it 'explodes' because you ignite a fuse that causes an internal explosion.
  • When something 'implodes' it collapses in on itself due to extreme external pressure. Most implosions occur underwater.

When to Use 'Explode' vs. 'Implode'

You learned the difference between these terms, but knowing when and how to use them can still be confusing.

So, here are some tips on using 'explode' vs. 'implode':

  • Use 'explode' to describe something bursting outward into pieces due to internal pressure.

For example, you could say:

You have to be careful when you are lighting firecrackers. You should throw them as soon as you light the fuse so they don't explode in your hand. 

  • Use 'explode' metaphorically to describe something that has a lot of internal pressure or emotion built up.

As an example, I might say:

I am so excited about our trip that I could explode. 


I am so angry about the new policies that our company implemented that I could explode. 

  • Use 'implode' to describe something collapsing in on itself due to external pressure.

So, you could say:

Submarines have to be able to withstand the pressure of the water as they descend, or else, they will implode. 

  • Use 'implode' metaphorically to say that someone cracked under pressure.

For example, you might say:

It was really sad, she was doing great, and then she imploded under the pressure of other people's expectations. 

Definition of 'Explode': What Does 'Explode' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'explode' as a verb that means:

  • To burst outward, creating a violent force or noise due to internal pressure

It can also mean:

  • A rapid nuclear or chemical reaction that creates noise, heat, and the violent expansion of gas
  • To have an outburst of sudden emotion
  • To go from being calm to being angry suddenly
  • To move with rapid speed or force
  • To increase suddenly
  • To cause something to burst loudly
  • To discredit something or cause an otherwise successful idea or venture to fail

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Explode'

  • Detonate
  • Burst
  • Pop
  • Shoot
  • Mushroom
  • Blow up
  • Blow
  • Discharge
  • Balloon
  • Smash
  • Splinter
  • Dynamite
  • Demolish
  • Destroy
  • Ruin
  • Wreck
  • Fragment
  • Blast
  • Annihilate
  • Bomb
  • Decimate

Definition of 'Implode': What Does 'Implode' Mean?

The same dictionary defines 'implode' as:

  • To burst inward due to external pressure

It can also mean:

  • To encounter violent compression
  • To self-destruct or fall apart under pressure
  • To burst inward

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Implode'

  • Collapse
  • Crumble
  • Buckle
  • Crumple
  • Melt
  • Fail
  • Yield
  • Crash
  • Burst
  • Break
  • Split
  • Crack
  • Deflate
  • Die
  • Give way
  • Conk

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Explode' vs. 'Implode'

When you are using words like these, it is important to pronounce them correctly. Otherwise, people may not understand what you mean. So, let's look at the pronunciation of 'explode' vs. 'implode.'

Here is a pronunciation guide you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'explode':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'implode':


Sample Sentences Using 'Explode' vs. 'Implode'

Before you leave, read these sample sentences using 'explode' vs. 'implode.' They will help you remember the differences and how to use them.


  • We watched the fireworks explode overhead from the rooftop terrace.
  • The cartel would explode things to scare people into not reporting their crimes to the police.
  • My last boss was a madman. He would be smiling and joking one minute, and the next, he would explode over the smallest thing.
  • If you explode over small things, how do you expect anyone to approach you about real problems?
  • The cannon exploded with incredible force.
  • Do not explode at me. I am sorry you are having a bad day, but I did not do anything to you.


  • The students did a science experiment where they made a can implode due to atmospheric pressure.
  • If you feel like you are going to implode, you should take a break. Go on a walk or do something for yourself.
  • One of the scariest parts of going on a submarine is the possibility that it could implode.
  • Recently, people around the world watched with anticipation after the OceanGate submarine went missing, only to find out that it had imploded.
  • After the company CEO imploded, employee morale was lower than ever.
  • There are many submarines that travel miles under the sea without imploding.

Recap: The Difference Between 'Explode' vs. 'Implode'

We covered a lot of information in this post, so let's do a quick review of the difference between 'explode' vs. 'implode':

  • 'Explode' and 'implode' are both verbs. 
  • 'Explode' and 'implode' are antonyms, so they are opposites. 
  • 'Explode' means to burst violently outward due to internal pressure. 
  • 'Implode' means to burst violently inward due to external pressure. 

Even after learning the difference between terms like these, it can be challenging to remember which to use. So, if you ever need a reminder, just come back to this page to review this lesson.

You can also learn about other commonly misused terms like 'explode' and 'implode' in the confusing words section here. Each post contains a brief and detailed description, definitions, examples, and grammar and usage tips.

So, they are an excellent way to improve your grammar and vocabulary whether you are an aspiring writer or learning English as a second language.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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