incendiary

noun
in·​cen·​di·​ary | \ in-ˈsen-dē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce incendiary (audio) ; -ˈsen-də-rē, -dyə- How to pronounce incendiary (audio) \
plural incendiaries

Definition of incendiary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a person who commits arson : arsonist
b : a substance or weapon (such as a bomb) used to start fires
2 : a person who excites factions, quarrels, or sedition : agitator

incendiary

adjective
in·​cen·​di·​ary | \ in-ˈsen-dē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce incendiary (audio) ; -ˈsen-də-rē, -dyə-\

Definition of incendiary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or involving arson : arsonous
2 : tending to excite or inflame : inflammatory incendiary speeches
3a : igniting combustible materials spontaneously
b : of, relating to, or being a weapon (such as a bomb) designed to start fires
4 : extremely hot incendiary chili peppers

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Synonyms for incendiary

Synonyms: Noun

arsonist, firebug, torch

Synonyms: Adjective

inflammatory, seditious

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Examples of incendiary in a Sentence

Noun

He was convinced that the arsonist was not at all what the town imagined: not brazen, but callow; not an expert incendiary noiselessly plying deer paths, but someone who was driving right up to his targets and fumbling with matches … — Barry Werth, New England Monthly, February 1989 White phosphorus, an incendiary, is normally packed in thin-walled casings; the casing is effective for dispersing chemical agents as well. — Stephen Budiansky, Nature, 5–11 Apr. 1984 The British had also made jellied gasoline with rubber, and it was generally recognized to be an excellent incendiary because of its easy ignition, high heat of combustion, and controlled burning rate. — B. & F. M. Brodie, From Crossbow to H-Bomb, 1973 firefighters caught the incendiary, who was watching the effects of his handiwork blamed the protests on outside incendiaries who were intent on overthrowing the government

Adjective

While visual effects experts work with images, mechanical effects experts work with machinery, tools, incendiary devices, and other equipment to manipulate physical events during live-action filming. — Patricia D. Netzley, Encyclopedia of Movie Special Effects, 2000 In the mid-Eighties, heavy-metal music was the incendiary genre being demonized … — Alan Light, Rolling Stone, 18 Feb. 1993 The only caveat … is to know one's own sensitivity to chili pepper heat. If a small or moderate dose of capsicum (the incendiary chemical component in chilies) makes you dash for a glass of ice water, this menu is not going to be fun for you. — Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 15 Mar. 1991 The fire was started by an incendiary bomb. recklessly made incendiary remarks during a period of heightened racial tensions
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hamas, in turn, has staged weekly riots at the Gaza barrier and unleashed flying incendiaries that have wreaked massive ecological damage. WSJ, "Try Something New After 70 Years of Failure," 6 Nov. 2018 Among the authors were right-wing incendiaries like Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Ann Coulter. John Sharp, AL.com, "How an Alabama classroom and a right-wing reading list put a fresh rip in America's partisan divide," 4 Feb. 2018 White phosphorus, along with other incendiaries, has been used by Syrian government forces battling insurgents in Aleppo and elsewhere. Anne Barnard, New York Times, "U.S.-Led Forces Said to Have Used White Phosphorus in Syria," 10 June 2017 The bombardier dropped four incendiaries, setting the factory ablaze. National Geographic, "Trained in Secret, These Fearless Pilots Retaliated for Pearl Harbor," 15 Apr. 2017 But incendiaries, barrel bombs and missiles can do just as much damage to civilians as gas — which Assad didn’t necessarily use or intend to use in the future, anyway. Leonid Bershidsky, The Denver Post, "Trump’s missiles hit U.S. critics, not Assad," 22 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The army accuses Hamas of using the large crowds as cover and encouraging demonstrators to hurl explosives, incendiary balloons and grenades across the border. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Rockets from Gaza Strip hit Israel; 4 die at border protest," 31 Mar. 2019 Not for his searing, pointed commentary; not for the unexpected mashup of musical genres and beats; and certainly not for the incendiary video that came along with it. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Best Songs of 2018 So Far," 1 June 2018 Israel halted the supply of petroleum and natural gas to Gaza last week in response to incendiary kites and balloons launched from Gaza into southern Israel. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Israeli jets strike Gaza terror targets after Hamas launches dozens of rockets," 2 Oct. 2018 But on the whole these teenagers were calm amid the provocations and far less incendiary than the adults who taunted them and the progressive high priests who denounced them. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The High School Deplorables," 22 Jan. 2019 But those voices have struggled, at times, to be heard above the roar of the site’s most incendiary figures. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 As the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib felt her Muslim faith was under threat since President Donald Trump’s incendiary campaign. Rebecca Nelson, Marie Claire, "Party Crashers: These Female Candidates Are Shaking Up The Midterms," 2 Nov. 2018 Palestinians have also sent incendiary kites and balloons over the border fence from Gaza, setting hundreds of fires in the fields and forest on the Israeli side. New York Times, "Gaza Militants Barrage Israel With Mortars and Rockets," 29 May 2018 Other Palestinians launched kites and balloons rigged with incendiary materials at neighboring Israeli communities to set fires. Wafaa Shurafa, chicagotribune.com, "Palestinians say 13-year-old killed by Israeli gunfire along border fence," 30 June 2018

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incendiary

Noun and Adjective

Middle English, from Latin incendiarius, from incendium conflagration, from incendere

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Statistics for incendiary

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Time Traveler for incendiary

The first known use of incendiary was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for incendiary

incendiary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of incendiary

: containing chemicals that explode into flame : producing a fire
: causing anger

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