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

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 Juul’s slim device was envisioned during that thesis presentation to deliver nicotine and flavor to the smoker through water vapor, minimizing combustion. Washington Post, "How two Stanford grads aimed for big tech glory and got Big Tobacco instead," 5 Sep. 2019 The test were done in service of the latest Northrop Grumman scramjets, where combustion takes place in a supersonic airflow. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Air Force Sets New Thrust Record In Experimental Scramjet Test," 9 Aug. 2019 Valdez neared his new normal — a complete combustion. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Framber Valdez fumbles in Astros' loss to Angels," 16 July 2019 Rescuers sprinkled water inside to keep the dust down and lessen the risk of combustion. Mitch Stacy,, "‘Like quicksand’: Ohio farmer survives soybean entrapment," 15 June 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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Statistics for combustion

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for combustion

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

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More Definitions for combustion



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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to be made up of

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