The dramatic roots of “explode”

In Ancient Rome, theatergoers would drive actors they didn’t like off stage by clapping very loudly. The custom ultimately gives us the word explode.

Last Friday, after seven years decrying Obamacare, House Republicans pulled their bill to replace it. It was an explosive event, and, from President Trump, it met with an ‘explosive’ response: “I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode. It is exploding now.”

Trump went on to use forms of explode five more times in his official remarks, and took the word to Twitter the following morning.

With its vivid imagery of a loud and fiery combustion, explode is, policy aside, an effective word choice. We might even call explode “dramatic”which would be quite fitting for the etymology of the word.

clap.jpg
An etymological explosion. (Pixabay)

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