flash point

noun

1
: the lowest temperature at which vapors above a volatile combustible substance ignite in air when exposed to flame
2
: a point at which someone or something bursts suddenly into action or being
3

Examples of flash point in a Sentence

The city became a flash point as political tensions grew. The situation reached a flash point when union leaders urged the workers to protest.
Recent Examples on the Web The case rapidly became a flash point in the debate surrounding the overturning of Roe — and was met with a wave of skepticism until the Columbus Dispatch confirmed the account and reported on July 13, 2022, that 27-year-old Gerson Fuentes had been charged with raping the girl. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2023 The attack occurred in September 2020, on the heels of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and during a flash point in police-community relations in L.A. after weeks of local protests against law enforcement. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 Lahaina could be the flash point to drive compliance. Kimmy Yam, NBC News, 24 Aug. 2023 The city’s towing practices became a flash point following an audit released late last year that showed low-income and homeless San Diegans are disproportionately affected, according to the Union-Tribune. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Oct. 2023 For the past year, much of the world’s attention has been focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan—flash points that could trigger direct or even nuclear confrontation between the major powers. Comfort Ero, Foreign Affairs, 26 May 2023 One flash point that could set off a major crisis is an atoll in the contested Spratly Islands, about 100 miles off the Philippine coast and 900 miles from mainland China. Christian Shepherd, Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2023 The flash point for the suspension actually was a story Evans wrote last week about freshman running back Quinten Joyner, a kid who is uncomfortable doing interviews. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2023 Amazon executives see the Kuiper network as an eventual competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink service, which has grown quickly and has become a lifeline in Ukraine, as well a flash point for controversy. Christian Davenport, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1878, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of flash point was in 1878

Dictionary Entries Near flash point

Cite this Entry

“Flash point.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flash%20point. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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