com·​bust kəm-ˈbəst How to pronounce combust (audio)
combusted; combusting; combusts
: burn

Example Sentences

anthracite, which is naturally hard, combusts more cleanly than bituminous coal
Recent Examples on the Web SpaceX captured nationwide attention Thursday morning as its massive Starship rocket lifted off from Southern Texas, and combusted just minutes later over the Gulf of Mexico. Anumita Kaur, Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2023 The plane glides with less friction, saving fuel, while the engines still have enough oxygen to combust the fuel. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Sep. 2022 Back then, adversity caused U-M to combust. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 26 Sep. 2021 When the engine is running at 5,000 rpm, pretty much all the fuel that’s pouring into the cylinders gets combusted and used. Ray Magliozzi, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Feb. 2023 The clip, directed by Lewis Dahm, showcases a digital, Sims-like world where things in the mundane landscape suddenly combust into flame. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, 22 Mar. 2023 An active gas leak inside the building was also found but did not combust. Jim Riccioli, Journal Sentinel, 10 Mar. 2023 The fire was extinguished with approx 6,000 gallons of water, as the battery cells continued to combust. Rob Wile, NBC News, 30 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'combust.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


derivative of earlier combust, combusted "burned, consumed," going back to Middle English combust, borrowed from Latin combustus, past participle of combūrere "to destroy with fire, reduce to ashes, calcine," from com- com- + ūrere "to expose to fire, burn, scorch" (with -b- from ambūrere "to burn around, scorch," falsely parsed as am- + būrere) — more at adust

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of combust was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near combust

Cite this Entry

“Combust.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


com·​bust kəm-ˈbəst How to pronounce combust (audio)
: to be or set on fire : burn
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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