ig·​ni·​tion | \ ig-ˈni-shən How to pronounce ignition (audio) \

Definition of ignition

1a : the device that is used to ignite the fuel mixture in a gasoline engine put the key in the ignition
b : the process or means (such as an electric spark) of igniting a fuel mixture
2 : the act or action of igniting: such as
a : the starting of a fire
b : the heating of a plasma to a temperature high enough to sustain nuclear fusion

Examples of ignition in a Sentence

There's a problem with the car's ignition.
Recent Examples on the Web However, shortly after the space plane was released from its carrier aircraft, named White Knight Two, the ignition sequence to light the space plane's motor did not complete, Ars reports. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Angara finally flies again, Falcon 9 customers embrace reuse," 18 Dec. 2020 The forklift had gone missing from a nearby auto-repair business, where someone had left it out in the open with the ignition key in it, Martinez said. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Police cite woman for joyriding stolen forklift through Midway District," 12 Mar. 2021 The car was found with the lights on and keys in the ignition. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, "Officials conduct three-day search for Texas State student missing since December," 4 Mar. 2021 Police soon located the van, locked and with the key in the ignition, at E. 6th Street and Johnson Parkway. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Driver in fatal St. Paul hit-and-run fled state for weeks, came back and surrendered," 26 Feb. 2021 The ignition must be on, but if the hybrid battery has enough charge, the engine won't start to run the vacuum. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "2021 Toyota Sienna's 8 Family-Friendliest Features," 28 Oct. 2020 Although ignition is scary, the USFRA also added that individuals should not be worried about using hand sanitizer — since fires are so uncommon — and, like the CDC, encouraged greater care when storing the liquid. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, "Texas woman who lit a flame after using hand sanitizer suffers severe burns," 5 Sep. 2020 Lincoln Sit down, buckle your seatbelt, take the key out of the ignition, close your eyes—and breathe. Anne Quito, Quartz, "How car companies are leaning into the mindfulness movement," 17 Jan. 2021 My ignition came while hitchhiking through France as an architecture student in 1971. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Winter weather, education standards, vaccinations, mental health," 19 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ignition.' 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 ignition

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for ignition

Time Traveler

The first known use of ignition was in 1612

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Statistics for ignition

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ignition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignition. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for ignition



English Language Learners Definition of ignition

: the electrical system in an engine that causes the fuel to burn so that the engine begins working
: the device that is used to start a car's engine
: the act of causing something to start burning : the act of igniting something


ig·​ni·​tion | \ ig-ˈni-shən How to pronounce ignition (audio) \

Kids Definition of ignition

1 : the act of causing something to start burning
2 : the process or means (as an electric spark) of causing the fuel in an engine to burn so that the engine begins working
3 : a device that is used to start a motor vehicle Put the key in the ignition.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ignition

Nglish: Translation of ignition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignition for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ignition

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