ig·​nite | \ ig-ˈnīt How to pronounce ignite (audio) \
ignited; igniting

Definition of ignite

transitive verb

1a : to set afire also : kindle
b : to cause (a fuel) to burn
2 : to subject to fire or intense heat especially : to render luminous by heat
3a : to heat up : excite oppression that ignited the hatred of the people
b : to set in motion : spark ignite a debate

intransitive verb

1 : to catch fire
2 : to begin to glow

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Other Words from ignite

ignitability \ ig-​ˌnī-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce ignitability (audio) \ noun
ignitable or less commonly ignitible \ ig-​ˈnī-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce ignitible (audio) \ adjective
igniter or less commonly ignitor \ ig-​ˈnī-​tər How to pronounce ignitor (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ignite


burn, enkindle, fire, inflame (also enflame), kindle, light, torch


douse (also dowse), extinguish, put out, quench, snuff (out)

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Examples of ignite in a Sentence

The fire was ignited by sparks. The paper ignited on contact with sparks. a material that ignites easily Three wins in a row ignited the team. His proposal is igniting opposition.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Islands of green trees and brush that didn’t initially burn within the fire were starting to ignite. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Smoke returns to Anchorage as hot weather fans Swan Lake wildfire," 5 July 2019 Harris County, Texas -- Two toddlers and at least one adult were burned after someone fired shots into their vehicle during a road rage incident, causing fireworks inside to ignite, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reports. CBS News, "4th of July road rage shooting ignites fireworks in car, burning 2 toddlers," 5 July 2019 Lump charcoal is easier to ignite and burns hotter than charcoal briquettes. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "These Are the Best Portable Grills of Summer 2019," 2 July 2019 Then, the abort will be initiated, causing the abort motor and attitude control motor, which provides steering, to ignite. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "NASA tests abort system for the Orion spacecraft that will carry humans to the moon in 2024," 2 July 2019 Hundreds of firefighters were struggling on Friday to control a wildfire in Catalonia, Spain’s northeastern region, after extreme temperatures appeared to have caused mismanaged manure on a farm to ignite, officials said. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "At Nearly 115 Degrees, France Experiences Its Hottest Day on Record," 28 June 2019 Hundreds of firefighters were struggling Friday to control a wildfire in Catalonia, Spain’s northeastern region, after extreme temperatures caused manure on a farm to ignite, officials said. Megan Specia, BostonGlobe.com, "At nearly 115 degrees, France experiences its hottest day on record," 28 June 2019 Instead, much shorter pulses of plasma—several nanoseconds—are used to ignite the fuel-air mix inside the cylinder. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Swapping spark plugs for nanopulses could boost engine efficiency by 20%," 26 June 2019 The home run did little to ignite the rest of the Angels sluggish offense, which collected only six hits, the last of them Justin Upton’s eight-inning two-out solo shot. Maria Torres, latimes.com, "Albert Pujols crushes homer and gets standing ovation from Cardinals fans," 22 June 2019

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

1666, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for ignite

Latin ignitus, past participle of ignire to ignite, from ignis

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Statistics for ignite

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ignite

The first known use of ignite was in 1666

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More Definitions for ignite



English Language Learners Definition of ignite

: to set (something) on fire : to cause (something) to burn
: to begin burning : to catch fire
: to give life or energy to (someone or something)


ig·​nite | \ ig-ˈnīt How to pronounce ignite (audio) \
ignited; igniting

Kids Definition of ignite

1 : to set on fire : light ignite newspaper
2 : to catch fire But the entire Oklahoma Panhandle is so dry, everything is … ready to ignite.— Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust

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More from Merriam-Webster on ignite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ignite

Spanish Central: Translation of ignite

Nglish: Translation of ignite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignite for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ignite

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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