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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from inflammatory

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

Synonyms for inflammatory


incendiary, seditious

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

It is used to treat inflammatory skin conditions caused by abnormal immune responses, such as psoriasis. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Danish transdermal drug company opens North American office in San Diego," 25 Apr. 2018 Ginger has been used in Asian cultures for thousands of years for culinary and medicinal purposes thanks to its anti-inflammatory, circulation-boosting, and digestion-aiding effects year round. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why a Hot Ginger Bath Is the Perfect Detox Ritual for Winter," 26 Nov. 2018 The limited studies out there indicate that CBD has, in its various interactions with the brain and immune system, some anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects. Dan Nosowitz, Vox, "The super-popular cannabis compound, explained.," 1 Nov. 2018 Fiery Aries people tend to run hot (and sometimes hot-headed), so Nicholas recommends anti-inflammatory things (hello, peppermint tea); a prickly-pear hair mask and a handsome comb nod to associations with cacti and the scalp. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Gifts for Your Horoscope-Obsessed Friend by Astrological Sign," 13 Dec. 2018 On social media there are powerlifters with Nazi tattoos and wearing MAGA hats, and even the comments on powerlifting women forums were inflammatory when the moderators reposted stories of harassment. Casey Johnston, SELF, "Ask a Swole Woman: How Can I Find Safe and Inclusive Gyms?," 23 Oct. 2018 The rhetoric at this meeting was even more inflammatory. Gavin Grimm, Teen Vogue, "Gavin Grimm on Turning His Fight Into a Conversation for All Transgender Youth," 27 Aug. 2018 Dairy and gluten can be highly inflammatory for some people (eggs, corn, and soy can too). Leslie Goldman, Woman's Day, "More Women Have Fibromyalgia Than Breast Cancer," 10 Sep. 2017 Such an operation will be inflammatory, but so was China’s treatment of the USS Decatur. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Navy Proposing Major Exercises Aimed at China," 4 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of inflammatory

circa 1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inflammatory

Share inflammatory

Statistics for inflammatory

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inflammatory

The first known use of inflammatory was circa 1711

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inflammatory



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

Keep scrolling for more


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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!