a war that destroys a culture or a large part of the population
Often as a proper noun Blowup. Obs.
If he had been born before the Blowup, it might have been different. Impossible to say. One could read history, but one couldn’t live it.
After the Blowup, the fringes of the radioactive areas had caused the mutations of which the telepaths were the only survivors, aside from the occasional monsters—reptiles and harmless beasts—that still lived near the blasted areas.
Five hundred years before, an atom was split and the balance of power blew up. Prior to that time, a number of people had been playing tug of war with a number of ropes. Nuclear fission, in effect, handed those people knives. They learned how to cut the ropes, and, too late, discovered that the little game had been played on the summit of a crag whose precipitous sides dropped away to abysmal depths beneath. The knife was a key as well. It opened fantastic new doors. Thus the Blowup. Had the Blowup been due only to the atomic blast, man might have rebuilt more easily, granting that the planet remained habitable. However, one of the doors the key opened led into a curious, perilous place where physical laws were unstable. Truth is a variable. But no one knew how to vary it until after unlimited atomic power had been thrown onto the market. Within limits, anything could happen, and plenty of things did. Call it a war. Call it chaos. Call it the Blowup.
Little leisure can be seen in the post-Blowup world.
It’s not like a blow-up war, when nine-tenths or more of the population of Earth…is killed.
This was a free world, had been since the Blowup, and a man did what he wanted, when he wanted, and how he wanted. That was freedom, and I was free. But I still had to eat.
any evidence 1945
Lewis Padgett, 'The Piper's Son'
We would like cites of any date from other sources.
Last modified 2021-01-05 18:01:00
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.