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

Definition of ignition

1 : 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
2a : the process or means (such as an electric spark) of igniting a fuel mixture
b : a device that activates an ignition system (as in an automobile) put the key in the ignition

Examples of ignition in a Sentence

There's a problem with the car's ignition.

Recent Examples on the Web

After Carlos Correa drew a walk, Gurriel mashed a Minute Maid Park special 360 feet away into the Crawford Boxes, an out in almost every other ballpark but this one, the setting for the Astros' offensive ignition. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Yuli Gurriel's grand slam fuels Astros' rout of Royals," 24 June 2018 As with paint, keep this away from pets and children, and any source of ignition. Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, "How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste Without Damaging the Environment," 9 Oct. 2018 The house explosion that killed a Gloucester County couple last week was caused by natural gas, authorities said Friday, but investigators were unable to pinpoint the precise source of ignition. Max Cohen, Philly.com, "House explosion that killed Gloucester County couple was accidental, fire marshal rules," 13 July 2018 Opened the tank, turned the burner closest to the ignition on high, ignited, then turned the rest of the burners to high. Kim Walker, Woman's Day, "Foil-Packet Salmon on the Grill," 15 May 2012 In this example, the problem is likely related to the ignition system. Michael Austin, Popular Mechanics, "What Your Check Engine Light Means and What To Do About It," 31 July 2018 Officers abandoned one checkpoint after another, leaving behind trucks and buses with keys in the ignition. David Satter, WSJ, "When Russian Democracy Died," 20 Sep. 2018 Likes, 1-click buying, retweets, Amazon Dash order buttons, binge watching, keyless ignition. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Anything Good Takes Exactly Five Meetings," 18 Nov. 2018 One of these, first reported back in August 2017, is Mazda's breakthrough with compression ignition. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Compression ignition engines are a big breakthrough—we got to try one," 25 Jan. 2018

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 1

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Statistics for ignition

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for ignition

The first known use of ignition was in 1612

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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

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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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