incendiary

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

Definition of incendiary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

incendiary

noun
plural incendiaries

Definition of incendiary (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for incendiary

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of incendiary in a Sentence

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 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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His playing here is incendiary, mixed with distortion and bristling with electric power. cleveland, "100 greatest songs of the 1960s by Rock and Roll Hall of Famers," 4 Mar. 2020 If Adam Silver finds the Mavs’ protest and incendiary comments were misplaced, here’s hoping there’s another fast-food joint in Cuban’s future. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "NBA may take issue with Mark Cuban ripping refs, but the Mavs’ owner has a point in latest eruption," 24 Feb. 2020 Public health officials, including the World Health Organization, have warned against using such terms, calling them inaccurate and potentially incendiary. NBC News, "Senate Democrats call for federal action on anti-Asian coronavirus racism," 10 Apr. 2020 Chungpa’s own interpretation of this incendiary scene feels tacked on, homiletic. Ed Park, The New York Review of Books, "Like No One They’d Ever Seen," 8 Apr. 2020 But Freeland’s prominence is a result of the tone and timbre of her voice — forceful but not frantic, intelligent but not incendiary. David M. Shribman, Los Angeles Times, "Chrystia Freeland leads Canada’s coronavirus fight," 2 Apr. 2020 In the current incendiary political climate, restraint can be difficult. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "‘It’s the sports-radio nightmare’: How Bay Area hosts keep conversation alive," 28 Mar. 2020 This year’s kerfuffle centered on how Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the series’ latest installment, allows players to use an incendiary version of white phosphorus, a chemical weapon prohibited under international law. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, "The Best Video Games of 2019," 17 Dec. 2019 At least two incendiary devices, believed to be flares, were thrown into nearby traffic, police said. Fox News, "Anti-fascist protest in Oregon leads to 3 arrests, suspect sought for defacing war memorial," 10 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After two nights of intensive bombing with high explosives and incendiaries, several square miles burn for hours at hundreds of degrees Centigrade, an inferno consuming every living creature. Matthew Sturgis, The New York Review of Books, "Geoffrey Wheatcroft," 21 Mar. 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of incendiary

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for incendiary

Noun and Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about incendiary

Time Traveler for incendiary

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for incendiary

Last Updated

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Incendiary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incendiary. Accessed 24 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for incendiary

incendiary

adjective
How to pronounce incendiary (audio) How to pronounce incendiary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of incendiary

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on incendiary

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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