kin·​dling ˈkin(d)-liŋ How to pronounce kindling (audio)
: easily combustible material for starting a fire

Examples of kindling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Thankfully, evening chores still carried on as normal: the chopping of kindling, and spreading sacks of sand over pathways to dry out the mud. Hazlitt, 24 Jan. 2024 For generations, Indigenous people feasted on the nuts, split the wood for kindling, and laced the leaves into their medicine. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 24 Dec. 2023 Some backstory is also needed, as the kindling to this absurd outcome starts with the Democrats. TIME, 6 Feb. 2024 Your Team Pizza can gather kindling and chop wood, stretch pizza dough, make sauce or prep toppings or aim an infrared thermo gun (sold separately), to check the temperature. Leslie Yazel,, 23 Oct. 2023 Lesson: For happiness to blaze brightly, start with whatever kindling is at hand. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 20 Nov. 2023 The pallets on the lot acted as kindling for the destructive blaze that burned through trailers and vehicles lying underneath the 10 Freeway. Dean Fioresi, CBS News, 13 Nov. 2023 Umm Muhammad was using her bedroom furniture as kindling. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 4 Dec. 2023 First, have your child collect small twigs and bark (tinder), short sticks (kindling), and larger logs (fuel). Nicole Harris, Parents, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kindling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1522, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kindling was circa 1522

Dictionary Entries Near kindling

Cite this Entry

“Kindling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


kin·​dling ˈkin-(d)liŋ How to pronounce kindling (audio)
: material that burns easily and is used to start a fire

Medical Definition


kind·​ling ˈkin-dliŋ How to pronounce kindling (audio)
: the electrophysiological changes that occur in the brain as a result of repeated intermittent exposure to a subthreshold electrical or chemical stimulus (as one causing seizures) so that there develops a usually permanent decrease in the threshold of excitability
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