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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The guidelines come out of the administration’s ongoing investigation into Chinese violations of American intellectual property and are likely to further inflame trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies. New York Times, "Court to Rule on Mandatory Union Fees, and U.S. May Restrict Chinese Investment," 24 June 2018 And the issue has been inflamed recently by the rape and murder of a 14-year-old German girl that authorities believe was carried out by an Iraqi asylum seeker. CBS News, "Trump says crime in Germany is way up, but it's actually down," 18 June 2018 Trump is expected to impose tariffs on Chinese goods as soon as Friday or next week ... a move that is sure to further inflame tensions and spark almost immediate retaliation from Beijing. Heather Long, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: The Fed will likely raise interest rates today. But will it weigh in on Trump's trade war?," 13 June 2018 In the same Saturday tweet, Trump also escalated his rhetoric on immigration in a way that is likely to further inflame the political atmosphere that will make any resolution of the issue even more elusive. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump whips up immigration storm over children," 29 May 2018 Then, the unbearable itchiness leads to scratching — and then that scratching then inflames the skin even more. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "10 Things You Should Always Do If You Have Eczema," 19 Mar. 2018 Although this is a long-standing rivalry in college basketball, there is no doubt it has been inflamed by the fact Xavier has never been to a Final Four and Butler has done so twice. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Butler's upset bid falls short, but make no mistake — Xavier is for real," 6 Feb. 2018 Any such move would inflame the capital and potentially provoke House Democrats to use their new power to take action. Peter Baker, The Seattle Times, "A partisan war awaits Trump. That just might suit him.," 6 Nov. 2018 Part of what made the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign so successful was its use of constantly tweeting bots to amplify divisive posts, inflame political tensions and mislead voters. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: Twitter's fake account purge can help turn the tide against influence campaigns," 9 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inflame

Statistics for inflame

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inflame

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on inflame

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inflame

Spanish Central: Translation of inflame

Nglish: Translation of inflame for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inflame for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inflame

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


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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