in·​flame | \ in-ˈflām How to pronounce inflame (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
inflamed also enflamed; inflaming also enflaming

Definition of inflame

transitive verb

1a : to excite to excessive or uncontrollable action or feeling especially : to make angry
b : to make more heated or violent : intensify insults served only to inflame the feud
2 : to set on fire : kindle
3 : to cause to redden or grow hot from anger or excitement a face inflamed with passion
4 : to cause inflammation in (bodily tissue)

intransitive verb

1 : to burst into flame
2 : to become excited or angered
3 : to become affected with inflammation

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Other Words from inflame

inflamer noun

Examples of inflame in a Sentence

His angry speech inflamed the mob. ideas that inflame the imagination His comments have inflamed an already tense situation. inflaming the passions of the mob a chemical that can inflame the skin
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Recent Examples on the Web The Sheriff’s Office memo could inflame the discussion by pitting Sheriff’s Office commanders against cops on the streets who have welcomed the get-tough tactics. Eileen Kelley,, "Sheriff’s Office is leery of using anti-riot law. It won’t run the risk of violating people’s civil rights.," 23 Apr. 2021 Biden has been closely monitoring the closing arguments, CNN has reported, fearful that a controversial verdict could inflame racial tensions and further escalate a deepening crisis in confidence with the nation's police forces. Kate Sullivan, CNN, "Biden called George Floyd's brother as nation awaits verdict in Derek Chauvin trial," 20 Apr. 2021 Yet calling off the vote could inflame tensions in a city that has seen clashes in recent days, and could spark unrest elsewhere in the territories. Joseph Krauss, Star Tribune, "EXPLAINER: Jerusalem dispute could derail Palestinian vote," 19 Apr. 2021 Notably, Fox News continues to inflame racial division and propagate an unstable political climate. Mike Freeman, USA Today, "NAACP to NFL: Don't 'fund Fox News' hatred, bigotry, lies and racism'," 18 Mar. 2021 How two presidents in a row have helped to inflame Georgia’s state politics. Geoff Duncan, National Review, "Trump and Biden Strike Out in Georgia," 13 Apr. 2021 An attack on one of Iran's most sensitive nuclear facilities has threatened to unravel President Joe Biden's diplomatic efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal -- and to inflame tensions in a region already on edge. Conor Finnegan, ABC News, "US, Iran recommit to indirect talks after sabotage attack on nuclear site," 13 Apr. 2021 But defense attorneys have said Howard, who decided to bring charges before the GBI finished investigating, repeatedly made comments meant to inflame public sentiment against Rolfe. Kate Brumback, Star Tribune, "Judge wants info on prosecutor request to recuse in cop case," 8 Apr. 2021 To complete this dystopian vision, Hotez highlights how climate change will further inflame contagious disease. Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker, "The Politics of Stopping Pandemics," 29 Mar. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for inflame

Middle English enflamen, from Anglo-French enflamer, from Latin inflammare, from in- + flamma flame

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Time Traveler for inflame

Time Traveler

The first known use of inflame was in the 14th century

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Statistics for inflame

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inflame.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for inflame



English Language Learners Definition of inflame

: to cause (a person or group) to become angry or violent
: to make (something) more active, angry, or violent
: to cause (a part of your body) to grow sore, red, and swollen


in·​flame | \ in-ˈflām \
inflamed; inflaming

Kids Definition of inflame

1 : to make more active, excited, angry, or violent His words inflamed the crowd.
2 : to cause to redden or grow hot (as from anger)
3 : to make or become sore, red, and swollen The chemical can inflame the skin.


in·​flame | \ in-ˈflām How to pronounce inflame (audio) \
inflamed; inflaming

Medical Definition of inflame

transitive verb

: to cause inflammation in (bodily tissue) inflame the sinuses

intransitive verb

: to become affected with inflammation

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Comments on inflame

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