in·flam·ma·to·ry | \in-ˈfla-mə-ˌtȯr-ē \

Definition of inflammatory 

1 : tending to excite anger, disorder, or tumult : seditious

2 : tending to inflame or excite the senses

3 : accompanied by or tending to cause inflammation

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Other Words from inflammatory

inflammatorily \in-ˌfla-mə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē \ adverb

Synonyms for inflammatory


incendiary, seditious

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Examples of inflammatory in a Sentence

She had an acute inflammatory reaction to the drug. He incited the mob with an inflammatory speech.

Recent Examples on the Web

That suggestion, which was made earlier this month by National Security Adviser John Bolton and also sparked an outraged response from the North, is especially inflammatory to Pyongyang. NBC News, "North Korea renews threat to quit summit after Pence's Libya remark," 24 May 2018 In addition to disinfecting the bite and helping to prevent infection, tea tree oil is also anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce itch and prevent bug bites from swelling. Mandy Ferreira, Good Housekeeping, "13 Amazingly Useful Things You Can Do With Tea Tree Essential Oil," 27 July 2017 Because not all Parkinson’s patients will have inflammatory bowel disorders, findings from the investigations into the co-occurrence of the two conditions might not generalize to everyone with the neurodegenerative disease, Mazmanian says. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Does Parkinson’s Begin in the Gut?," 8 May 2018 Giuliani did not apologize Thursday for the inflammatory remarks. Washington Post, "Giuliani trying to influence perception of Mueller probe," 8 June 2018 But experts say most people who are infected get better over a few days or weeks by taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Gregory B. Hladky,, "What You Need To Know About The Invasive Mosquito Expected To Spread To Connecticut," 6 June 2018 Wright was Obama's controversial pastor whose inflammatory remarks led the future president to disassociate from him. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Morning Spin: Rauner campaign gets back on the airwaves with ad about Prizker phone call with Blagojevich," 5 June 2018 In early 2016, under Tu's leadership, the Minnesota dental school introduced a mandatory protocol stipulating that the first-line treatment for pain would be nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as high-dose ibuprofen. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Why We Won’t Miss Opioids," 1 June 2018 Frazier joined Merck in 1992 and rose through the ranks, overseeing the company’s defense against lawsuits related to the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, and, as chief executive since 2011, prioritizing the development of drugs to treat cancer. David Gelles, The Seattle Times, "Merck CEO who stood up to Trump speaks out," 25 Feb. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of inflammatory

circa 1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

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The first known use of inflammatory was circa 1711

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English Language Learners Definition of inflammatory

medical : causing or having inflammation

: causing anger


in·flam·ma·to·ry | \in-ˈfla-mə-ˌtȯr-ē \

Kids Definition of inflammatory

1 : tending to excite anger or disorder an inflammatory speech

2 : causing or having inflammation an inflammatory disease


in·flam·ma·to·ry | \in-ˈflam-ə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr- \

Medical Definition of inflammatory 

: accompanied by or tending to cause inflammation inflammatory diseases

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in·flam·ma·to·ry | \in-ˈfla-mə-ˌtōr-ē\

Legal Definition of inflammatory 

: 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.

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Comments on inflammatory

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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