com·​bus·​tion | \ kəm-ˈbəs-chən How to pronounce combustion (audio) \

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

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Other Words from combustion

combustive \ kəm-​ˈbə-​stiv How to pronounce combustive (audio) \ 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 With the Taycan, the company seeks a reputation for quality and performance on par with internal-combustion classics such as its storied 911 series. Russ Mitchellstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Meet Taycan, Porsche’s first all-electric sports car and Tesla’s latest challenger," 4 Sep. 2019 The civil defense office in the State of Mexico said emergency personnel were pumping water toward the fields to reduce the possibility of chance combustion. Washington Post, "Mexico gas pipeline leak causes evacuation of 2,000," 3 Aug. 2019 Air from the fan is collected by the scoop (9) and directed into the air manifold between the combustion sleeve and the second wall (8). Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Things Come Apart: The Biolite Campstove," 15 Mar. 2017 But the average reality might not be enough to quell the concerns of potential EV consumers, who will have to wean themselves from the expectations of the internal-combustion era. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Electric Cars Still Face a Major Roadblock," 27 June 2019 Pure oxygen can be added when burning fossil fuels for more efficient combustion, which would also eliminate nitrogen oxide byproducts (which are also greenhouse gases). Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Splitting water to make cement could clean up a dirty industry," 17 Sep. 2019 The drama’s mid-section reveals the hard knocks and combustion, both mechanical and human, that went into the development of a car that could beat the Italians, and how it got done in one year. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Ford v Ferrari': Film Review | Telluride 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 This way the company can easily adjust its production of internal combustion, plug-in hybrid and electric cars to match consumer demand. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Mini Cooper goes electric," 9 July 2019 Nothing less than a hydrogen fuel-cell performance car, something not attempted since BMW worked with internal-combustion, liquid hydrogen V-12s more than a decade ago. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Rimac is Helping Hyundai Make an N-Branded EV Hatch and a Sporty Hydrogen Car," 15 May 2019

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.

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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

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Learn More about combustion

Statistics for combustion

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for combustion

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

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More Definitions for combustion


How to pronounce combustion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of combustion

: the act of burning
technical : a chemical reaction that occurs when oxygen combines with other substances to produce heat and usually light


com·​bus·​tion | \ kəm-ˈbəs-chən How to pronounce combustion (audio) \

Kids Definition of combustion

: the process of burning


com·​bus·​tion | \ kəm-ˈbəs-chən How to pronounce combustion (audio) \

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)

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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 Encyclopedia article about combustion

Comments on combustion

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a calculated move

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