Word of the Day : March 8, 2016


adjective in-FLAM-uh-bul


1 : capable of being easily ignited and of burning : flammable

2 : easily inflamed, excited, or angered : irascible

Did You Know?

Combustible and incombustible are opposites, but flammable and inflammable are synonyms. How can that be? The in- of incombustible is a common prefix meaning "not," but the in- of inflammable is a different prefix. Inflammable, which dates back to 1605, descends from Latin inflammare ("to inflame"), itself from in- (here meaning "in" or "into") plus flammare ("to flame"). Flammable also comes from flammare but didn't enter English until 1813. In the early 20th century, firefighters worried that people might think inflammable meant "not able to catch fire," so they adopted flammable and nonflammable as official safety labels and encouraged their use to prevent confusion. In general use, flammable is now the preferred term for describing things that can catch fire, but inflammable is still occasionally used with that meaning as well.


After the baserunner was called out on a close play, the crowd watched as the inflammable manager tore out of the dugout to argue with the umpire.

"Building acts were introduced that regulated inflammable materials on the facades of structures and determined the width of streets." — Robert Bevan, The Evening Standard (London), 19 January 2016

Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create another word whose in- form is its synonym: DEETCNASNC.



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