tinderbox

noun
tin·​der·​box | \ ˈtin-dər-ˌbäks How to pronounce tinderbox (audio) \

Definition of tinderbox

1a : a metal box for holding tinder and usually a flint and steel for striking a spark
b : a highly inflammable object or place
2 : a potentially explosive place or situation

Examples of tinderbox in a Sentence

That old house is really a tinderbox. the city has been a tinderbox ever since racial profiling became an issue
Recent Examples on the Web Holiday weekends such as Labor Day have acted as a tinderbox for earlier outbreaks, and late summer marks the return of students to college campuses. Peter Weber, The Week, 7 Sep. 2021 Holiday weekends such as Labor Day have acted as a tinderbox for earlier outbreaks, and late summer marks the return of students to college campuses. BostonGlobe.com, 5 Sep. 2021 His block, a mixed neighborhood of Catholics and Protestants, becomes a tinderbox as the communities turn against each other. Brent Lang, Variety, 27 Oct. 2021 Her case has become a tinderbox in the tensions in Hollywood as media companies scramble to adjust their decades-old business models to reflect the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and streaming. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug. 2021 Another heat wave is blanketing the region as moisture from the monsoons in the Southwest move away, leaving behind a dry atmosphere and tinderbox conditions. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 4 Aug. 2021 And when somebody’s kid comes home saying slavery set off that tinderbox, there’s going to be a meeting. al, 16 June 2021 The ranks have been weakened by exhaustion from the pace of fires, concern over COVID-19, and the sapping demands of the work in a tinderbox of heat and drought. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Aug. 2021 Winds gusting through a vast tinderbox of undergrowth made the fire balloon in size and merge with a smaller blaze. New York Times, 22 July 2021

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

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Learn More About tinderbox

Time Traveler for tinderbox

Time Traveler

The first known use of tinderbox was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near tinderbox

tinder

tinderbox

tinder fungus

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tinderbox

Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tinderbox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tinderbox. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for tinderbox

tinderbox

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tinderbox

: a box that holds material that can be used to start a fire easily : a container for tinder
: a structure that would burn very quickly if it caught on fire
: a place or situation that could suddenly become very violent

More from Merriam-Webster on tinderbox

Nglish: Translation of tinderbox for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!