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 Investigators determined the fire was started by an unknown ignition source. Fox News, "Challenger explosion among the deadliest space disasters," 29 Jan. 2020 The owner of the truck had left the vehicle running with the keys still in the ignition while going inside the restaurant for a dinner break, according to police. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Police: Hitchhiker stole truck from a Southern Indiana Taco Bell, led cops on I-65 chase," 21 Jan. 2020 However, an emerging body of scientific research on patterns of homes destroyed by fire suggests the state’s approach may be ignoring one of the most crucial elements for keeping people safe and limiting wildfire ignition sources. Joshua Emerson Smith, Los Angeles Times, "California ignores the science as it OKs more homes in wildfire zones, researchers say," 6 Oct. 2019 Small, spark-ignition engines are used in lawn mowers, ride-on mowers, commercial landscaping equipment and generators. Washington Post, "Kohler to pay $20M penalty for California engine emissions," 31 Jan. 2020 Our drivers have noted slow response times, unresponsive icons, and periodic program failures when using Apple CarPlay, all of which are usually resolved when the system reboots, either on its own or with an ignition cycle. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "Our Ram 1500 Shines as a Luxurious, Go-Anywhere Snow Machine," 28 Jan. 2020 This, of course, brings exhaust heat from the fire of combustion to areas that were previously shielded, and so the engineering team relocated the heat-sensitive ignition coil packs from atop the valve covers down to the sides of the engine block. Dan Carney, Popular Science, "The Corvette is finally the supercar it deserves to be," 2 Jan. 2020 The red Corvette convertible comes with a matching red interior, tinted glass, AM/FM radio, posi-traction, head restraints, audio alarm system, full transistor ignition, auxiliary black vinyl hardtop and luggage rack. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Barrett-Jackson: Drummer Travis Barker's vehicles among cars being auctioned on Thursday," 16 Jan. 2020 None of the golf carts, for instance, have ignition keys. Stephen Hudak, orlandosentinel.com, "Online auctions are a bonanza for Orange County, offer bargains for bidders," 30 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of ignition

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ignition

Time Traveler for ignition

Time Traveler

The first known use of ignition was in 1612

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ignition

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ignition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignition. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ignition


How to pronounce ignition (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ignition

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ignition

Spanish Central: Translation of ignition

Nglish: Translation of ignition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignition for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ignition

Comments on ignition

What made you want to look up ignition? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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