ig·nite | \ig-ˈnīt \
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 \ noun
ignitable or less commonly ignitible \ig-ˈnī-tə-bəl \ adjective
igniter or less commonly ignitor \ig-ˈnī-tər \ 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

The fire was ignited by sparks from welders working on an iron handrail at the building next door to the fatal fire, authorities found. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "Relatives of two Boston firefighters killed in Back Bay blaze to testify on ‘hot work’ bill on Beacon Hill," 11 July 2018 The Road to Change Tour is part of the March For Our Lives movement, which was ignited by the student survivors of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Samantha West, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "500 attend Parkland students' town hall in Milwaukee on Road to Change tour," 23 June 2018 The Tigers’ remarkable midseason revival was ignited by an offense that scored at will, and no one found the end zone more often than Okwuegbunam. Chris Johnson And Eric Single, SI.com, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2018: Nos. 100–51," 18 June 2018 The standoff was ignited in part by Qatar's support of Islamist groups, such as Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has fought three wars against Israel. Aya Batrawy And Jon Gambrell, The Christian Science Monitor, "Gulf Arab states support Palestinians, but also form subtle ties to Israel," 16 May 2018 The federal government said the April 19 fire was ignited by the Davidians. Fox News, "AP Was There: The fiery end of the standoff in Waco, Texas," 19 Apr. 2018 Follow these safety tips provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: — Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Helena Oliviero, ajc, "Why fireworks in Georgia boom well after the 4th of July," 10 July 2018 Reynolds, a 34-year old journeyman infielder that signed with the Nationals in mid-April, recorded a staggering 10 RBI and ignited Washington’s 18-4 blowout win over the Marlins. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "A historic game by Nationals journeyman Mark Reynolds leads to another Marlins debacle," 7 July 2018 In the first few years following its launch in 2008, Groupon was one of the darlings of the startup world after introducing the concept of daily deals to online consumers, igniting a frenzy among deal seekers and local businesses alike. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Groupon is looking for a buyer," 7 July 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

14 Oct 2018

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 \
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

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