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

During that test the vehicle was tethered to the ground during that ignition and subsequent firings, so the rocket hasn’t seen any air yet. Loren Grush, The Verge, "SpaceX’s test rocket catches fire after engine test," 17 July 2019 Broken catalytic converters and dragging tow chains are the most common causes of roadside ignitions, aside from arson. Gary Richards, The Mercury News, "Fire danger is high from cars near highways: Roadshow," 4 July 2019 The van had been parked on the street overnight and someone broke into the van and damaged the ignition switch and steering column in an apparent effort to steal the vehicle. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Police investigate car theft, attempted thefts: Lakewood Police Blotter," 20 June 2019 Many new car models don't even offer the option of an ignition with keys. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Toyota cars will now turn themselves off if you forget," 14 June 2019 High-end charcoal units should have work shelves, charcoal storage areas, and automatic ignition systems. John Loecke, ELLE Decor, "Shopping Guide: Outdoor Grills," 3 Apr. 2010 In both regions, power lines falling down or coming into contact with trees are widely considered as possible ignition points for the fires. David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, "California ponders wildfire relief fund as PG&E seeks rate case delay," 4 June 2018 All walk mowers have pull start (recoil) handles—even those with a key ignition. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers," 11 Apr. 2019 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

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

23 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for ignition

The first known use of ignition was in 1612

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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

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).


something desired as essential

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