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

The weekend attack ignited huge fires at Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq oil processing facility and interrupted about 5.7 million barrels of crude oil production -- over 5 percent of the world’s daily supply. Fox News, "Damage from Iran-linked drone attack on Saudi oil facility captured in satellite images," 16 Sep. 2019 Another fire ignited off Interstate 15 in Fallbrook. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SDSU fire that prompted evacuations, possible series of arson fires keep fire crews busy," 15 Sep. 2019 Hours later, a backlash ignited when a video of another new cast member, Shane Gillis, began to circulate. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "What to Know About the Controversy Surrounding New Saturday Night Live Cast Member Shane Gillis," 13 Sep. 2019 The scoring pass from Yowman to Guidry ignited that burst. Daniel Maher, Houston Chronicle, "West Brook scores in bunches to beat Strake Jesuit," 6 Sep. 2019 The blast also ignited anger in the neighborhood housing the compound, known as the Green Village, where Afghan residents have been killed in earlier attacks targeting foreigners. Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. and Romanian soldiers killed in Afghanistan bombing claimed by Taliban," 5 Sep. 2019 Those pictures ignited a war of words between supporters on both sides. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas-LSU a battle of DBUs," 5 Sep. 2019 The Conception ignited early on Sept. 2, burned for hours and sank near the Channel Islands. Los Angeles Times, "California dive boat owner quickly asks judge to limit payouts to victims’ families," 5 Sep. 2019 While lighting the burn barrel, vapors ignited, leaving him with flash burns. Catalina Righter, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Keymar man suffers flash burns, is flown to hospital for treatment," 30 Aug. 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

14 Oct 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

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