tin·​der·​box ˈtin-dər-ˌbäks How to pronounce tinderbox (audio)
: a metal box for holding tinder and usually a flint and steel for striking a spark
: a highly inflammable object or place
: a potentially explosive place or situation

Examples of tinderbox in a Sentence

That old house is really a tinderbox. officials sought to calm the situation, which had grown into a tinderbox
Recent Examples on the Web That narrative has now shifted drastically, and both Trump and Biden will face pressure to dial down the temperature ahead of an election that has transformed the country into a tinderbox. Lucille Sherman, Axios, 15 July 2024 The lab uses goats to clear vegetation from the hills, which otherwise could become a tinderbox for urban wildfires. John Metcalfe, The Mercury News, 12 July 2024 Today’s great photo is from Times photographer Gina Ferazzi from a seven-story boulder on federal land that has become a tinderbox of tensions over who gets to enjoy this patch of Mojave Desert, which has rapidly gentrified since the COVID-19 pandemic. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2024 The German capital is at the cutting edge of social and artistic experimentation — with a giddy, hedonistic nightlife — but is also a political tinderbox as sky-high inflation and rampant poverty meet a rising movement of far-right nationalists. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for tinderbox 

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

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of tinderbox was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near tinderbox

Cite this Entry

“Tinderbox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tinderbox. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


tin·​der·​box -ˌbäks How to pronounce tinderbox (audio)
: a metal box for holding tinder and usually a flint and steel for striking a spark
: something that can easily catch fire

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