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

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



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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.
Recent Examples on the Web Frank’s job is to recite the summary, helping ignite his memory and speech. Matt Doherty, BostonGlobe.com, 21 May 2022 Under such conditions the National Weather Service advises extinguishing cigarettes completely, covering burn barrels and drowning fires with water — as just a small spark could ignite a major blaze. Diana Leonard, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 Keeping that front-of-mind and valuing team input will help ignite individual passion for a project, allowing leaders to step back and mentor as their teams drive the idea forward. Matthew Kushner, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 That’s the day the Great North American Solar Eclipse will once again ignite sun-watching fever across the country. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 8 Apr. 2022 Garbin said Whitmer's kidnapping could ignite a U.S. civil war involving anti-government groups and possibly prevent Joe Biden from winning the presidential election. CBS News, 29 Mar. 2022 The lawsuits also allege that the design of the van's steering system was faulty, and its fuel system allowed gas and gas vapors to ignite and burn the van's occupants after the crash. Jeff Martin, ajc, 27 Jan. 2022 No one is certain whether these efforts to meet Gen Zers on their devices and social platforms will ignite a passion for sports, and no one can say what major sports league fandom might look like in 20 years. New York Times, 12 Jan. 2022 In an era when Covid-19 vaccinations ignite fierce political debate, the E.R. and exam rooms are probably not the best places to broach the subject of climate change, Lemery said. Jody Hammond, NBC News, 17 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near ignite

ignis fatuus



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Statistics for ignite

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ignite.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignite. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ignite


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

More from Merriam-Webster on ignite

Nglish: Translation of ignite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignite for Arabic Speakers


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