Define blast off

Hello, I’d like know why the term blast off is used to describe the launch of new products or services. I know that a rocket usually starts with a blast but why is blast off used as an idiom to talk about new products? Thank you for your comments.

Hi Nicole,

This is news to me. I haven’t heard of that use before. Can you give me an example?


Good morning Alan,

Sometimes I need a person to talk to and then I can learn something new. Now that you have said you hadn’t heard of using blast off that way before I have checked again and of course you have turned out right. I heard a sentence on BBC yesterday and it was about the launch of the Galileo satellite system which will compete with the American GPS. In that sentence they talked about the launch of Galileo and its blast off. That’s why I made the connection between the two words but now it turned out that blast off is exactly what it should be: the launch of the rocket that is lifting the satellite into space. Here is a sentence that might be similar to the one I heard:

…The GIOVE-A satellite had been due to blast off from Russia’s launch site at …

In this sentence blast off is a phrasal verb but I understand that blast off can be used as a noun too?

Hi again Nicole,

Thanks for that. Blast off can be used as a noun. Incidentally you might be interested in the expression: We have lift off, which obviously originates from the language used in connection with the launch of space rockets. It has however crossed over into an idiom totally unrelated to rockets and means something big has started to happen. For example a big store will have a sale at this time of year and people are waiting for the store to open before they rush in. A sales assistant could say at the moment the doors open: We have lift off.

Just some thoughts


Alan, so lift off is an idiom, meaning we have started something big. Very interesting. But why is it we have lift off and not lifted off? I understand that here lift off is a phrasal verb and not a noun?

This really means we have the state of lift off as we also say we have take off with an aeroplane. The two words are if you like frozen into a noun and have lost their verb status. My what a complicated language this is!


Aha, now I understand. We have lift off actually means we are in the middle of lifting off?
Also, what does My stand for? Is it an abbreviated version of My God?

Yes indeed. Or My goodness. You can also say My my!


Thank you Nicole and Alan. At last I understand why they don’t say ‘we have lifted off’.

Hello everybody!

This is a definition for blast off from

Phrasal Verb:
blast off
To take off, as a rocket.

And another one:

blast off

  1. Also, blast away. Take off or be launched, especially into space, as in They’re scheduled to blast off on Tuesday. This usage originated with the development of powerful rockets, spacecraft, and astronauts, to all of which it was applied. [c. 1950]
  2. Depart, clear out, as in This party’s over; let’s blast off now. [Slang; early 1950s]
  3. Become excited or high, especially from using drugs, as in They give parties where people blast off. [Slang; c. 1960]