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



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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 Meanwhile, the Kincade Fire burned 77,758 acres after igniting Oct. 23 near John Kincade Road and Burned Mountain Road, northeast of Geyserville. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "Kincade Fire is fully contained, but firefighters are sticking around," 7 Nov. 2019 Most also agree that following sovereigns through scenic destinations around the world ignites a certain kind of wanderlust. Louise Hart, Town & Country, "4 International Itineraries for a Vacation Fit for a Royal," 7 Nov. 2019 That branch sparked the powerline and ignited nearby brush. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Firefighters Miraculously Return Ring That Survived Getty Fire — and Another Blaze in 1961," 5 Nov. 2019 Early in the final quarter, Murray poked the ball away from the Lakers’ Alex Caruso, igniting a fast break that ended with his layup. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "With Dejounte Murray, Spurs see need for speed," 4 Nov. 2019 To test this theory, the scientists created a series of controlled chemical blasts in a five-foot-long, two-inch-wide tube called a turbulent shock tube to understand more about how explosions spontaneously ignite. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "The Big Bang Probably Happened Because of Turbulence," 4 Nov. 2019 The woman positively identified Stewart as the person who ignited the fire, Gardner said. William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "Prosecutors: Angry ex accused of making cabbie stop at gas station ahead of apartment building fire," 3 Nov. 2019 Farther south, multiples wildfires continue spreading near Los Angeles and new ones have ignited. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "There are more than 10 fires currently burning in California," 31 Oct. 2019 Two fires ignited Sunday afternoon in Lafayette, in Contra Costa County east of Berkeley. Peter Behr, Scientific American, "California Investigates Blackouts as New Fires Flare," 29 Oct. 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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ignite

The first known use of ignite was in 1666

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More Definitions for ignite


How to pronounce ignite (audio)

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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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