spontaneous combustion


: self-ignition of combustible material through chemical action (such as oxidation) of its constituents

called also spontaneous ignition

Examples of spontaneous combustion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s one more major category of spontaneous combustion: the drying oils. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 9 Jan. 2023 The Mesa mulch fire garnered a lot of attention as the fire, likely due to spontaneous combustion, was expected to burn for nearly 24 to 48 hours as fire crews monitored it. The Arizona Republic, 6 June 2023 Back-to-back-to-back recalls in recent weeks for issues ranging from spontaneous combustion to loss of power while driving at highway speeds puts Ford at a competitive disadvantage during a time when automakers are fighting to define themselves as market leaders, analysts say. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, 24 June 2022 In 2021, some of the experts called in thought there may have been spontaneous combustion. Eric Boodman, STAT, 18 Apr. 2023 If those contents include any goods that the International Maritime Organization defines as dangerous (among them, explosives, radioactive substances, toxic gases, asbestos, and things prone to spontaneous combustion), the carrier is obliged to report the incident to the relevant authority. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 In a spontaneous combustion of emotions, Celtics center Al Horford (42) celebrates with teammate Aaron Nesmith as Jayson Tatum celebrates with Luke Kornet after the final buzzer of Sunday's 100-96 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 30 May 2022 Variety reports that both Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are supporting the film as executive producers, which will follow Moon — the human embodiment of spontaneous combustion — during his ascent as one of the most famous drummers in rock history. Vulture, 31 Jan. 2022 Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, 8 Sep. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spontaneous combustion.' 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

1795, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spontaneous combustion was in 1795

Dictionary Entries Near spontaneous combustion

Cite this Entry

“Spontaneous combustion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spontaneous%20combustion. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

spontaneous combustion

: a bursting of material into flame from the heat produced within itself by chemical action (as oxidation)

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