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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ignite

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for ignite



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The Houston Rockets probably feel better about their future with a haul of draft picks to ignite a rebuild. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers jump in James Harden trade, steal Jarrett Allen and make big addition to growing young core," 14 Jan. 2021 Experts in infectious diseases and public health have come to understand that this coronavirus was uniquely suited to ignite a 21st century pandemic. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus updates from the Bay Area: Dec. 31-Jan. 6," 14 Jan. 2021 The spacecraft’s engine is supposed to ignite moments after the craft is released from a special carrier jet, sending it in a near-vertical climb toward the edge of space. Susan Montoya Bryan And Paul Davenport, orlandosentinel.com, "‘Lost connection’ hampers Virgin Galactic’s test flight," 15 Dec. 2020 The Roadrunners’ last points were netted with about two minutes left, when Jackson notched a steal to ignite a play that ended with a layup for Eric Parrish, pulling UTSA within 87-86. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "Rice outlasts UTSA in shootout to open Conference USA season," 1 Jan. 2021 Life is short and sports bring a group together to ignite a community. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "Soccer newsletter: CONCACAF Champions League resumes play this week," 15 Dec. 2020 My colleagues Matthias Gafni and Lizzie Johnson have a gripping, deep look at the Hennessey Fire, one of the first fires to ignite out of the August lightning storms. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Winemakers are worrying about smoke taint, but wine drinkers should not," 10 Sep. 2020 Our mission is to build and support one-to-one relationships to ignite the biggest possible futures for youth. Dallas News, "Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star," 6 Sep. 2020 Taylor's death helped ignite a political and social firestorm this summer, fueling nationwide and international protests over police brutality and injustice for Black Americans killed by police. Tessa Duvall, USA TODAY, "A council refused to appoint a special prosecutor in Breonna Taylor case. An outcry ensued.," 6 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ignite

Time Traveler for ignite

Time Traveler

The first known use of ignite was in 1666

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ignite

Last Updated

25 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ignite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignite. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!