tin·​der ˈtin-dər How to pronounce tinder (audio)
: a very flammable substance adaptable for use as kindling
: something that serves to incite or inflame
that rhetoric was ready tinder for revolutionMargaret Peters

Examples of tinder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And all the snowmelt has brilliantly greened what’s often a dry, brown tinder box by this time of year. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2023 First, have your child collect small twigs and bark (tinder), short sticks (kindling), and larger logs (fuel). Nicole Harris, Parents, 25 Oct. 2023 Some of the company’s poles are surrounded by invasive grasses that can become explosive tinder in the dry season. Peter Eavis, New York Times, 19 Aug. 2023 This has created an oversupply of tinder that should have been cleared long ago by healthier fire cycles. Omar Mouallem, WIRED, 23 Aug. 2023 Position your tinder bundle at the focal point until the concentrated sunlight ignites the tinder. Jim Baird, Field & Stream, 28 June 2023 But if financial disparities between executives and workers are the tinder, to borrow Ryan’s Burn It Down metaphor, Hollywood has been stockpiling the fuel for years. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 2 Aug. 2023 The spark was the arrest of 21-year-old Marquette Frye, the tinder a community simmering with resentment at police mistreatment. Brendan McAleer, Car and Driver, 30 July 2023 Top Load Light the tinder inside your tepee, and feed the fire from the top as needed to customize the blaze, like a mood-setting dimmer switch. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, 29 June 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Old English tynder; akin to Old High German zuntra tinder, Old English tendan to kindle

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of tinder was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near tinder

Cite this Entry

“Tinder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tinder. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


tin·​der ˈtin-dər How to pronounce tinder (audio)
: a material that burns easily and can be used as kindling

More from Merriam-Webster on tinder

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