incendiary

1 of 2

adjective

in·​cen·​di·​ary in-ˈsen-dē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce incendiary (audio) -ˈsen-də-rē How to pronounce incendiary (audio)
-dyə-
1
a
: 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

2 of 2

noun

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

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
Related article Trump’s incendiary NATO remarks send very real shudders through Europe Wang may see more success in stabilizing relations with individual EU member states interested in boosting economic ties — and those looking with uncertainty at the impending US elections, according to observers. Simone McCarthy, CNN, 19 Feb. 2024 He was charged with possession of an explosive or incendiary device with intent to create a destructive device and knowingly manufacturing, possessing or distributing a destructive device, along with firearm and drug offenses. Cassidy Jensen, Baltimore Sun, 13 Feb. 2024 Fire investigators determined the fire to be incendiary, Hopkins said. Robert A. Cronkleton, Kansas City Star, 9 Feb. 2024 Related Articles Royal journalists accused Harry and Meghan of being complicit in Scobie’s book, especially after the couple refused to publicly distance themselves from some of Scobie’s more incendiary allegations. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 6 Feb. 2024 Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump. SCOTT (voice over): Trump’s attacks against his own former U.N. ambassador have turned more incendiary by the day. ABC News, 21 Jan. 2024 At the same time, the amplification of incendiary free speech for bad actors encourages mob rule. Jaron Lanier, WIRED, 13 Feb. 2024 The two men were on the phone speaking about an incendiary march through a Catholic area in Northern Ireland by hard-line Protestants. Alan Cowell, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024 So far, polls indicate none of this incendiary rhetoric has dented Trump’s base of support any more than the multiple indictments against him. Thomas Elias, The Mercury News, 26 Jan. 2024
Noun
The fire marshal’s investigation indicated that the cause of the fire, which started in an interior hallway, was an incendiary. Aegis Staff Report, Baltimore Sun, 23 Jan. 2024 Russia has been accused of using cluster munitions itself, as well as other taboo weapons like white phosphorus munitions, an incendiary that can cause severe harm to civilians. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 Patrons took shelter from the rain inside the tight quarters of the bomber, able to observe the padded crawl space leading to where the gunners were stationed and the compartments where bombs and incendiaries were dropped during World War II and the Korean War. Jared Quigg, Chicago Tribune, 12 July 2023 One person was killed and four others injured Tuesday morning in east Texas in an incident involving fireworks explosions and other incendiaries, the Upshur County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. Stephen Smith, CBS News, 4 July 2023 All this culminated in a raid on Tokyo in March 1945 that involved 279 B-29s flying low and dropping incendiaries. James M. Scott, Foreign Affairs, 20 Dec. 2022 His many enemies defined him as a reckless and deceitful incendiary. Alan Taylor, Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2022 The handful of structures that survived the inferno, including the doctors’ wood-frame residences, were torched the next night, after the incendiaries came back and took a battering ram to the Women’s Hospital. John Freeman Gill, New York Times, 8 May 2020 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, 21 Mar. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incendiary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near incendiary

Cite this Entry

“Incendiary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incendiary. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

incendiary

1 of 2 noun
in·​cen·​di·​ary in-ˈsen-dē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce incendiary (audio)
plural incendiaries
1
: a person who commits arson : arsonist
2
: a person who excites quarrels : agitator

incendiary

2 of 2 adjective
1
: of, relating to, or involving arson
2
: tending to excite quarrels : inflammatory
an incendiary speech
3
: containing chemicals that burst into flame on contact
an incendiary bomb

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