What Does to Bombard Someone With Questions Mean?

Bombard with Questions Meaning

Definition: To ask someone many questions, one right after the other, often without time to answer each question.

When you bombard someone with questions, you are throwing so many questions at the person that it is nearly impossible for him to deal with them all at once.

The phrase implies persistence and intensity, both of which are usually unwanted. The person being bombarded typically feels attacked by the questioner, and he does not want to answer because of this.

Origin of Bombard Someone With Questions

meaning of bombard with questionsA bombard (noun) was a 15th-century military engine for launching large stones, similar to a catapult. This gives us the image of hurling questions at someone who doesn’t want them.

The figurative use of bombard as a verb is not found until 1765, though its source is unknown. By 1780, however, we see it in this excerpt from Flavio Guglielmi’s travel journal:

  • And then, from nowhere, a bombard of questions about my travels, to which I was all too happy to reply.

In this case, Flavio is happy to answer the questions. Today, however, this phrase usually has a negative connotation.

Examples of Bombard Someone With Questions

the expression bombard with questionsIn the modern day, people use this expression to talk about a verbal assault of questions.

For example,

  • The child bombarded his parents with questions about everything from the color of the sky to why animals die.

-or-

  • My best friend bombarded me with questions when she found out I met Justin Timberlake.

More Examples

  • The media as usual bombarded me with questions all at once and allowed an agitator to shout over me! –Washington Post
  • Whenever he returned home, people bombarded him with questions. When are you going to play? What’s the deal? –The Seattle Times

Summary

If you ask a stream of questions to a person for an extended period of time, you are bombarding someone with questions, and he or she will probably want you to stop.