tin·​der | \ˈtin-dər \

Definition of tinder 

1 : a very flammable substance adaptable for use as kindling

2 : something that serves to incite or inflame that rhetoric was ready tinder for revolution— Margaret Peters

Examples of tinder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The soaking in both states comes in stark contrast to the tinder-dry conditions of the American Southwest, which is experiencing drought and an early wildfire season. NBC News, "Floating bears, rescued campers as Montana and Texas flood," 22 June 2018 For tinder, stuff petroleum jelly–soaked cotton balls into a couple of film canisters. Nick Davidson, Outside Online, "The Ultimate DIY Bug-Out Bag," 27 June 2018 That includes using goats to try and clean up as much woodland as possible before temperatures rise and the land becomes a tinder box. Washington Post, "Send in the goats: Portugal goes low-tech to beat wildfires," 14 June 2018 That includes using goats to clean up the underbrush in as much woodland as possible before temperatures rise and Portugal's rugged hills become a tinder box. Barry Hatton, Fox News, "Send in the goats: Portugal goes low-tech to beat wildfires," 13 June 2018 Ed Reiter held a piece of flint in one hand and a piece of steel in the other, striking them together to create sparks that would light some tinder. Gloria Casas, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin Civil War Experience offers window to both national and local history," 9 June 2018 The flames spread rapidly, fueled by gusting winds and tinder dry forest conditions. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Judge to issue written ruling on restitution for teen who ignited Eagle Creek fire," 17 May 2018 There are also good chapters on tinder—which ranges from elephant dung to plant down, to the inner or outer bark of a variety of trees, and fungi ranging from King Alfred’s cakes to chaga and horse-hoof fungus. Bill Heavey, WSJ, "Summer Books: Camping," 23 May 2018 That the Court will be strongly aligned with one political faction during a time of close partisan competition is tinder that could easily fuel a constitutional crisis. Scott Lemieux, The New Republic, "Democrats: Prepare to Pack the Supreme Court," 10 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tinder.' 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 tinder

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

History and Etymology for tinder

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

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

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More Definitions for tinder



English Language Learners Definition of tinder

: dry material (such as wood or grass) that burns easily and can be used to start a fire


tin·​der | \ˈtin-dər \

Kids Definition of tinder

: material that burns easily and can be used as kindling

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More from Merriam-Webster on tinder

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Spanish Central: Translation of tinder

Nglish: Translation of tinder for Spanish Speakers

Comments on tinder

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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