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

exual connotations

Bombshells are a special kind of sex symbol. Bombshells are popular icons recognized for their curves, sex appeal and larger than life personas. The term carries an implication of a voluptuous female sex icon. Some icons of popular culture who have widely been referred to as a "Bombshell" include Jean Harlow who starred in the 1933 film "Bombshell," Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Brigitte Bardot, Lana Turner, Kim Novak, Sophia Loren and in more recent popular culture Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson and Monica Belluci.

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.

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

ee also

* Pin-up girl
* Sex symbol
* Sex appeal
* Supermodel

External links

* [ Wordnet]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bombshell — Bomb shell , n. 1. A bomb. See {Bomb}, n. [1913 Webster] 2. something or someone that stuns or amazes, especially suddenly and unexpectedly; as, the news of the president s affair was a political bombshell; a blonde bombshell. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bombshell — 1708, from BOMB (Cf. bomb) (n.) + SHELL (Cf. shell) (n.). The figurative sense of shattering or devastating thing or event attested from 1860. In reference to a pretty woman (especially a blonde) it is attested from 1942 ( Bombshell as title of a …   Etymology dictionary

  • bombshell — I noun astonishment, bewilderment, blow, consternation, eye opener, inexpectation, jolt, nonexpectation, shock, startler, stupefaction, sudden attack, sudden burst, surprisal, surprise, surprise package, thunderbolt, thunderclap, unawaited event …   Law dictionary

  • bombshell — ► NOUN 1) something that comes as a great surprise and shock. 2) informal a very attractive woman …   English terms dictionary

  • bombshell — [bäm′shel΄] n. 1. BOMB (n. 1) 2. any shocking surprise 3. something which arouses great interest or excitement; sensation; specif., a woman with remarkable sex appeal, typically one who is blond and buxom …   English World dictionary

  • bombshell — UK [ˈbɒmˌʃel] / US [ˈbɑmˌʃel] noun [countable] Word forms bombshell : singular bombshell plural bombshells informal an event or piece of news that is unexpected and shocking The announcement of job losses came as an absolute bombshell. drop a… …   English dictionary

  • bombshell — noun VERB + BOMBSHELL ▪ be, come as (BrE) ▪ His revelation was a bombshell. ▪ The news came as a bombshell. ▪ drop ▪ Then sh …   Collocations dictionary

  • bombshell — [[t]bɒ̱mʃel[/t]] bombshells N COUNT A bombshell is a sudden piece of bad or unexpected news. His resignation after thirteen years is a political bombshell... The police told me. It was a bombshell. I had no idea. ● PHRASE: V and N inflect If… …   English dictionary

  • bombshell — bomb|shell [ bam,ʃel ] noun count INFORMAL 1. ) an event or piece of news that is unexpected and shocking: The announcement of job losses came as a total bombshell. drop a bombshell (=give an unexpected and shocking piece of news): Anna suddenly… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • bombshell — bomb|shell [ˈbɔmʃel US ˈba:m ] n 1.) an unexpected and very shocking piece of news ▪ Then came the bombshell: the factory was to close down. ▪ Finally she dropped the bombshell . She was pregnant, she said. 2.) blonde bombshell humorous a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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