combustion

noun
com·​bus·​tion | \ kəm-ˈbəs-chən \

Definition of combustion

1 : an act or instance of burning Smoke is produced during combustion.
2 : a usually rapid chemical process (such as oxidation) that produces heat and usually light The carburetor mixes fuel with air for combustion. also : a slower oxidation (as in the body)
3 : violent agitation : tumult … periods of great social combustion alternating with quiescence …— Kurt Andersen

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from combustion

combustive \ kəm-​ˈbə-​stiv \ adjective

Examples of combustion in a Sentence

Combustion may occur at high temperatures. This ratio of air to fuel results in better combustion.

Recent Examples on the Web

But the turbochargers that are all but omnipresent in today's two-liter engines don't play nicely with high compression ratios, because the combustion can become erratic and possibly result in engine knock (unwanted detonation of the fuel-air mix). Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Variable-compression engine meets crossover: Infiniti QX50 review," 8 Nov. 2018 Warmer temperatures are drying out vegetation faster each year, extending the window of combustion. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Smoky Seattle summers: Expect more of them, scientists say," 14 Aug. 2018 Using both injection types allows finer tuning of the combustion process, and Ford applied the same dual-injection trick to the F-150’s 5.0-liter V-8 and its turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6. Car and Driver, "2018 10Best Trucks and SUVs: The Best Models in Every Segment," 30 Jan. 2018 That means waste heat, vented from cooling towers, losing 30 to 40 percent of the energy created by combustion. David Roberts, Vox, "That natural gas power plant with no carbon emissions or air pollution? It works.," 1 June 2018 The engineering layout of an EV is vastly more flexible than that of a combustion-engine car. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "The future of electric car design has yet to be written," 5 Oct. 2018 Researchers are working to refine the filtration and combustion processes and plan to start testing the whole toilet system in households within two years. Dominique Fong, WSJ, "Flush With Ideas: Bill Gates Pursues the Toilet of the Future," 9 Nov. 2018 But hypersonic vehicles generally reach their tremendous speeds using supersonic combustion ramjet engines, or scramjets, whichs compress and combust air flowing in at supersonic speeds. Mike Wall, Space.com, "US Air Force Zooms Ahead on 2 New Hypersonic Weapons Plans," 20 Aug. 2018 Up to 800 commercial combustion-engine vehicles will be eligible to retrofit their old engines with cleaner alternatives. Russ Mitchell, latimes.com, "VW funds from diesel scandal will pay for zero-emission buses, trucks in California," 26 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'combustion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of combustion

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for combustion

Middle English combustioun "burning, calcination," borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French combustion, borrowed from Late Latin combustiōn-, combustiō "burning up (of the dead or by the fires in hell)," from Latin combus-, variant stem of combūrere "to destroy with fire, reduce to ashes" + -tiōn-, tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at combust

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about combustion

Share combustion

Statistics for combustion

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for combustion

The first known use of combustion was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for combustion

combustion

noun

English Language Learners Definition of combustion

: the act of burning

: a chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen combines with other substances to produce heat and usually light

combustion

noun
com·​bus·​tion | \ kəm-ˈbəs-chən \

Kids Definition of combustion

: the process of burning

combustion

noun
com·​bus·​tion | \ kəm-ˈbəs-chən \

Medical Definition of combustion

: a usually very rapid chemical process (as oxidation) that produces heat and usually light also : a slower oxidation (as in the body)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on combustion

Spanish Central: Translation of combustion

Nglish: Translation of combustion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of combustion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about combustion

Comments on combustion

What made you want to look up combustion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

someone who never drinks alcohol

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!