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

But the podcast did ignite a level of public interest that breathed new life into the case, and less than two years after Serial ended, a judge vacated Syed's conviction and ordered a new trial. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of The Case Against Adnan Syed," 31 Mar. 2019 White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said this week that the president is open to having the students visit the White House after the government reopens, which would surely ignite a new firestorm. Kate Storey, Town & Country, "Behind the PR Machine That Helped Change the Nick Sandmann Narrative," 25 Jan. 2019 Vogueworld Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant Reveals Her Flair for Fashion on Jimmy Fallon Ever since bursting onto the fashion scene in 2016, designer Batsheva Hay has ignited a craze for her kitschy-cool prairie dresses. Vogue, "Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant Reveals Her Flair for Fashion on Jimmy Fallon," 20 Mar. 2019 The Washington Post/Getty Images The deadly Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, California, has killed at least 81 people, left almost 700 missing, and burned more than 152,000 acres since igniting on November 8. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Ryan Zinke blamed environmentalists for California’s massive wildfires. Again.," 21 Nov. 2018 Since igniting in a windstorm last Thursday, the Camp Fire has killed 48 people and destroyed 8,817 homes and businesses mostly in the city of Paradise, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Hunt for Bodies Expands in Northern California as a Southern Blaze Is Largely Contained," 13 Nov. 2018 In order to prevent any further fires from igniting, officials said that fire teams decided to drench any and all remaining crates. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Tortilla chips that 'spontaneously combusted' are behind two blazes at a Texas factory, fire officials say," 19 July 2018 Because of the intensity of the blaze, fire crews immediately went into a defensive attack and aggressively fought to keep embers from igniting neighboring houses. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Lightning strike thought to have started fire that destroyed Overland Park home," 12 June 2018 Two large grass fires in Tehama and Glenn counties have burned through more than 5,000 acres combined since igniting Saturday afternoon in what some officials said was the start of the state's annual wildfire season. Kellen Browning, sacbee, "Big grass blazes in Tehama, Glenn counties. Wildfire season has begun," 10 June 2018

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

15 Apr 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 returning to life

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