inflammable

adjective
in·​flam·​ma·​ble | \ in-ˈfla-mə-bəl How to pronounce inflammable (audio) \

Definition of inflammable

1 : flammable
2 : easily inflamed, excited, or angered : irascible

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Other Words from inflammable

inflammability \ in-​ˌfla-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce inflammable (audio) \ noun
inflammable noun
inflammableness \ in-​ˈfla-​mə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce inflammable (audio) \ noun
inflammably \ in-​ˈfla-​mə-​blē How to pronounce inflammable (audio) \ adverb

Why Inflammable Is Not the Opposite of Flammable

Combustible and incombustible are opposites, but flammable and inflammable are synonyms. How can that be? The in- of incombustible is a common prefix meaning "not," but the in- of inflammable is a different prefix. Inflammable, which dates back to 1605, descends from Latin inflammare ("to inflame"), itself from in- (here meaning "in" or "into") plus flammare ("to flame"). Flammable also comes from flammare but didn't enter English until 1813. In the early 20th century, firefighters worried that people might think inflammable meant "not able to catch fire," so they adopted flammable and nonflammable as official safety labels and encouraged their use to prevent confusion. In general use, flammable is now the preferred term for describing things that can catch fire, but inflammable is still occasionally used with that meaning as well.

Examples of inflammable in a Sentence

some pajamas are made of inflammable material, so be careful
Recent Examples on the Web Offshore platforms are notoriously hazardous locations, dense with heavy equipment and handling large quantities of highly inflammable liquids and gases. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, "Can Robots Transform Offshore Energy? Standardization, Regulations And Workforce Are The Keys," 15 Apr. 2021 Each soldier engaged in this form of attack has strapped to his back a tank containing an inflammable liquid under high pressure. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Fire and Gas in World War," 30 Sep. 2020 The silky, inflammable scent of lighter fluid hit first, then the Whitesnake. Kent Russell, Harper's Magazine, "America’s Game," 15 Sep. 2020 Rust has covered parts of the tanker and the inert gas that prevents the tanks from gathering inflammable gases, has leaked out. Washington Post, "UN encouraged experts may get to visit oil tanker off Yemen," 10 July 2020 Rust has covered parts of the tanker and the inert gas that prevents the tanks from gathering inflammable gases, has leaked out. Washington Post, "UN encouraged experts may get to visit oil tanker off Yemen," 10 July 2020 Rust has covered parts of the tanker and the inert gas that prevents the tanks from gathering inflammable gases, has leaked out. Washington Post, "UN encouraged experts may get to visit oil tanker off Yemen," 10 July 2020 Rust has covered parts of the tanker and the inert gas that prevents the tanks from gathering inflammable gases, has leaked out. Washington Post, "UN encouraged experts may get to visit oil tanker off Yemen," 10 July 2020 The more inflammable nitrogen present the less flammable oxygen, helping reduce the possibility of fuel tank explosions. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The F-35 Lightning II Can't Fly Near...Lightning," 26 June 2020

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

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inflammable

French, from Medieval Latin inflammabilis, from Latin inflammare

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Time Traveler for inflammable

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The first known use of inflammable was in 1605

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Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inflammable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inflammable. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for inflammable

inflammable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of inflammable

: capable of being set on fire and of burning quickly
: easily excited or angered

inflammable

adjective
in·​flam·​ma·​ble | \ in-ˈfla-mə-bəl How to pronounce inflammable (audio) \

Kids Definition of inflammable

1 : flammable
2 : easily inflamed : excitable an inflammable temper

More from Merriam-Webster on inflammable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inflammable

Nglish: Translation of inflammable for Spanish Speakers

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