in·​flam·​ma·​to·​ry in-ˈfla-mə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce inflammatory (audio)
: tending to excite anger, disorder, or tumult : seditious
: tending to inflame or excite the senses
: accompanied by or tending to cause inflammation
inflammatorily adverb

Example Sentences

She had an acute inflammatory reaction to the drug. He incited the mob with an inflammatory speech.
Recent Examples on the Web Other effective treatment options for moderate to severe cases: systemic corticosteroids or biologics, which are injectable medications or IV infusions that disrupt the body’s inflammatory response. Glamour, 7 Nov. 2022 The museum extended the invitation to West, who now goes by Ye, via an Instagram stories post on Oct. 11, following the rapper’s recent inflammatory remarks about the Jewish community. Melissa Hernandezstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 25 Oct. 2022 Or, pollutants may lodge in the lungs, causing an inflammatory response that spreads and leads to the brain. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive, 24 Sep. 2022 Studies have indicated that AIP diets, which can serve an as an elimination diet for some, may be helpful in reducing an inflammatory response in patients with IBD (irritable bowel disease) and other autoimmune diseases. Amy Fischer M.s., R.d., Good Housekeeping, 8 Sep. 2022 If, for example, an employee has made multiple inflammatory remarks about another employee, repairing and rebuilding employee trust might requiring firing that employee. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 25 Aug. 2022 There is much about the COVID-preeclampsia link, too, that is still in the realm of hypothesis—in part because COVID itself is constantly mutating, with some variants becoming more infectious but triggering less of an inflammatory response. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2022 This type of laser will help avoid an inflammatory response, burns, or collateral damage, Dr. Cook-Bolden says. Janell M. Hickman, SELF, 27 July 2022 The tiny particles in smoke also set off an inflammatory response in the body, which weakens its defenses to other infections. Ula Chrobak, Outside Online, 20 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inflammatory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of inflammatory was circa 1711

Dictionary Entries Near inflammatory

Cite this Entry

“Inflammatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



in·​flam·​ma·​to·​ry in-ˈflam-ə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce inflammatory (audio)
: stirring up anger, disorder, or rebellion
inflammatory speeches
: causing or accompanied by inflammation
inflammatory diseases

Medical Definition



in·​flam·​ma·​to·​ry in-ˈflam-ə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr- How to pronounce inflammatory (audio)
: accompanied by or tending to cause inflammation
inflammatory diseases

Legal Definition



: tending to cause anger, animosity, or indignation
the use of an alias by a defendant is…almost always inflammatory F. D. Doucette

Note: Evidence, and especially photographic evidence, may be deemed inadmissible if its inflammatory nature seriously outweighs its probative value or relevance. The mere fact that evidence is graphic or gruesome, however, is not enough to render it inadmissible.

More from Merriam-Webster on inflammatory

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.