AskDefine | Define bombshell

Dictionary Definition



1 an entertainer who has a sensational effect; "she was a blonde bombshell"
2 a shocking surprise; "news of the attack came like a bombshell" [syn: thunderbolt, thunderclap]
3 an explosive bomb or artillery shell

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a bomb or artillery shell designed to explode on impact
  2. something that is very surprising, shocking, amazing or sensational
  3. In the context of "by extension": someone who is very attractive (compare sex symbol)


a bomb or artillery shell designed to explode on impact
something that is very surprising, shocking, amazing or sensational
someone who is very attractive

Extensive Definition

The term bombshell is a forerunner to the sex symbol and originally used to describe popular female sex icons.

Sexual connotations

Bombshells are a special kind of sex symbol. Whereas nearly any notable entertainer can qualify as a sex symbol, bombshells are popular icons who became legends after they die. They are "entertainers with a sensational effect."
The word often carries an implication of a full-figured (and large-breasted) female sex icon.
Before the word Bombshell Girl came to be used in the broader sense, as it is today, the word was more specific. Originally during World War II, "Bombshell Girl" referred to the "pinup" girls who were painted onto the sides of WWII planes, bombers, and their bombs. Such photos are now readily available on the internet and historical archives. For many, sex and vehicles are intertwined symbols. See Howard Hughes, Top Gun (film) etc. Carefully maintained machinery was referred to with terms of endearment. The military evidentially allowed artists to create such work for amusement and recreational viewing in order to help boost morale for the pilots and other military personnel, perhaps a replacement for a photo of the girl back at home. Such artwork did not exclusively use female sex symbols.

Other connotations

The term bombshell is also commonly used as an expression describing a sudden/unexpected event. For example, one may "drop a bombshell" in the form of releasing some controversial statements made by a prominent person. This is the original figurative sense of the term, dating back to 1860.


  • Stephanie Smith, Household Words: Bloomers, sucker, bombshell, scab, nigger, cyber (2006) on changing usage of the word

External links

bombshell in German: Sexbombe

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aerial bomb, antipersonnel bomb, astonishment, blockbuster, blow, bomb, carcass, catch, concussion grenade, depth bomb, depth charge, earthshaker, eye-opener, fire bomb, gas grenade, grenade, hand grenade, incendiary bomb, incendiary grenade, infernal machine, joker, kicker, peripeteia, petard, revelation, shock, shocker, staggerer, startler, surprisal, surprise, surprise ending, surprise package, surprise party, switch, tear-gas grenade, thunderbolt, thunderclap, time bomb, wall grenade
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1