Top Definition
1. An action that has has good intent, but has quite unexpected and possibly messy consequences.

2. Naming the source of conflict and getting it out in the open. The results of which may not be pretty, but it is far better than leaving it to fester.

3. The abrupt release of any unresolved tension that has built up over time, whether intentionally or randomly. With unpleasant results.

ORIGIN

The Oregon Whale Explosion of 1970

A Brief History of Exploding Whales (from theatlantic.com/technology)
Origin:
The Oregon Whale Explosion of 1970 can be seen as a metaphor for life situations, when you intend something quite different to what actually happens.

Other notable whale explosions mirror that awkward situation in life when you realize you can't let something just sit there and fester, but doing something about it will get messy.

Examples:

in a meeting: "Look we all know what's going on - why don't we just explode the whale and deal with it."

from theatrical improv: where a partner abruptly shuts down the scene by doing something too outrageous. "When you shot the other guy in your scene you really exploded the whale"

Waiting for something bad to happen: "Wow, this situation is tense…any minute now the whale's going to explode! And I don't want to be around when it happens!"
by steeroop May 02, 2014

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