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

Definition of combust

: burn

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for combust


blaze, burn, flame, glow

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of combust in a Sentence

anthracite, which is naturally hard, combusts more cleanly than bituminous coal

Recent Examples on the Web

An appliance delivery man bashed an elderly woman’s head with a mallet before dousing her with a liquid chemical that spontaneously combusted and ultimately killed her, police in South Florida said Tuesday. Fox News, "Delivery man accused of killing Florida woman, 75, by hitting her with mallet, setting her on fire," 21 Aug. 2019 Entrusted with a one-run lead in the ninth, Osuna completely combusted. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "George Springer's homer lifts Astros to 10-inning win over Brewers," 2 Sep. 2019 Munitions that had been stored outside the base combusted after a fire, killing 13 people and knocking out power for many people across the island. Washington Post, "Demetris Christofias, embattled former president of Cyprus, dies at 72," 21 June 2019 Amid the explosions a transformer combusted into flames, sending fire through its electrical wires to nearby residences and restaurants. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Bangladesh Fire Points to Safety Shortfalls Despite Progress in Garment Industry," 22 Feb. 2019 The rotation of a NASCAR engine is 3.5 times faster than a standard street car and much more efficient, allowing it to combust more quickly and produce more power. Christine Helms, The Conversation, "NASCAR may be the fastest way to learn about physics," 8 Aug. 2019 But Dundon’s compost mound spontaneously combusted in February 1990, sending flames and smoke into the air. Los Angeles Times, "Tim Dundon, ‘Guru of Doo Doo,’ whose compost nourished Altadena’s gardens, dies at 77," 6 Aug. 2019 Will America be able to take it, without combusting? Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "What if he dies? &c.," 31 July 2019 Investigators believe discarded rags soaked in turpentine may have spontaneously combusted Thursday, causing a house fire in Waconia. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "Police say discarded rags soaked in turpentine likely caused house fire in Waconia; family dog still missing," 5 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'combust.' 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 combust

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for combust

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about combust

Statistics for combust

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for combust

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

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on combust

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with combust

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for combust

Comments on combust

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


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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