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 news follows problems with a disappointing December 2020 launch, when the rocket motor of SpaceShipTwo did not ignite. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Virgin Galactic space tourism flights delayed until 2022," 26 Feb. 2021 Weather officials warned earlier this week that gusty Santa Anas could ignite dry brush. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "Strong winds, freezing temps, high surf: Southern California under multiple weather warnings," 4 Dec. 2020 The challenge, though, is that Trump could ignite the Democratic presidential nominee’s short temper with criticisms of his family or on matters of personal pride. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Democrats hope the first debate will be Biden’s to lose. But can he keep his cool?," 29 Sep. 2020 The eight men, whose movements were captured on video, were identified by ProPublica and FRONTLINE as members of the Oath Keepers, a long-standing militia group that has pledged to ignite a civil war on behalf of Trump. Ford Fischer, ProPublica, "Several Well-Known Hate Groups Identified at Capitol Riot," 9 Jan. 2021 On Thursday, federal and state prosecutors charged 13 members of an armed group with planning to kidnap the governor and other violent, anti-government acts as part of an effort to ignite a wider civil war. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "'They’re domestic terrorists': Michigan governor objects to calling men charged in kidnapping plot 'militias'," 9 Oct. 2020 Five men are killed on a British tanker docked in Brooklyn, not far from Ebbets Field, when gases ignite and cause an explosion. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Brooklyn takes World Series lead: 1920 Game 3," 7 Oct. 2020 The blaze inched closer, at 97% containment Thursday, but flames continued to smolder and ignite brush fields near the perimeter line, according to a Cal Fire report. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "California wildfires: Live updates Sept. 10-11," 15 Sep. 2020 Avoid any activity that could cause a spark or ignite a grass fire. Dallas News, "A windy Friday ahead," 15 Jan. 2021

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

Statistics for ignite

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ignite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignite. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

Who Knew?

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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