Definition of combustible in English:



  • 1Able to catch fire and burn easily.

    ‘a combustible gas’
    • ‘A fire brigade spokesman said that a high density of flammable gas released by combustible shoemaking materials and poor ventilation in the workshop probably was to blame for the blaze.’
    • ‘She is unhappy that the paintings were stored on an industrial estate alongside combustible gas canisters, and that there was no security guard employed.’
    • ‘Cleaning means removing the hazard of accumulated and highly combustible creosote produced by burning wood and wood products.’
    • ‘A spokesman from Wiltshire Fire Brigade warned that this time of year is dangerous for countryside fires because of the dry conditions and amount of combustible material around.’
    • ‘Bonfires are a big part of Hallowe'en and often contain highly combustible materials that can cause respiratory problems and burns.’
    • ‘If the materials are combustible, the fire protection system will be designed differently than for a noncombustible building.’
    • ‘They fear possible gas leaks and fires being started by combustible materials deposited in the huge caves created by mining activities.’
    • ‘But don't worry - you won't be receiving anything spontaneously combustible or explosive.’
    • ‘There were still 300 tons of combustible materials and there have been frequent fires giving off fumes that affect local residents and people working nearby.’
    • ‘In other words, oil does not burn because it has combustible properties.’
    • ‘The ministry circulated a press release - shunning the hesitation and obscurity that usually takes it a lot longer to respond - saying the man was hurt in an explosion generated by combustible trash he kept in his house.’
    • ‘He also devised portable hydrogen-gas generators that combined sulfuric acid and iron shavings to produce combustible gas.’
    • ‘Keep combustible liquids such as paint thinner, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, and turpentine away from heat sources.’
    • ‘Should a fire strike, the chemicals react with combustible gases and tars normally generated by the material.’
    • ‘Nearly 60 per cent of candle fires start when the flame comes into contact with nearby combustible materials.’
    • ‘It is combustible like everything else in this room.’
    • ‘Fire can do nothing but burn, but it does burn if there is something combustible, if this fuel is close enough to the fire, and if nobody throws water on.’
    • ‘It was fired by lighting a combustible cartridge.’
    • ‘It was jamming up a ventilation grate, blocking up the flow of combustible gas below it.’
    • ‘When exposed to a fire, the chemicals react with the combustible gasses normally produced by untreated wood as it burns, converting them to carbon char, carbon dioxide and water.’
    inflammable, flammable, incendiary, explosive
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Excitable; easily annoyed.
      ‘a volatile and combustible personality’
      • ‘The result is not only more subdued than one might expect of the combustible personalities at work here, but also more intelligent, more intellectual, even, and more profound.’
      • ‘Prior to his conversion, the part-time manicurist had a reputation for hard partying and a combustible personality.’
      • ‘They may not quite have the combustible mix of personalities of the two great Americans.’
      • ‘In a society seeking moral footing after 50 years of totalitarian rot, he found these public manners personally appalling and potentially combustible.’
      • ‘His combustible persona waxed hot against those he saw as enemies of righteousness and justice, attracting true believers to its incandescence.’


  • A combustible substance.

    • ‘Several involve body-shaped depressions in the earth that are filled with fabric or other combustibles, set afire and left as an imprint of ash.’
    • ‘As the mortar joints erode, heat transfers more rapidly to the nearby combustibles and dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide can leak into the living areas of the home.’
    • ‘At the far end of the walkway, on the very spot where he had held his bonfires of the vanities, stood a circular wooden platform, heaped with combustibles.’
    • ‘Who will be the first to locate York's secret stash of combustibles?’
    • ‘The practise is a success when the right combustibles meet the right materials.’
    • ‘‘The way it was contained in a hallway, which normally would have no combustibles in it at all, makes it highly suspicious,’ he said.’
    • ‘For units that use inside air for combustion, be sure to provide ample clearance so that nearby air can flow easily, and make sure that everyone in the family knows not to put combustibles nearby.’
    • ‘Fearing for the safety of nearby combustibles, I whipped the pan off the stove (blistering my thumb in the process) and was overwhelmed with thunderous applause.’
    • ‘Enough heat can also conduct through a perfectly sound chimney to ignite nearby combustibles.’
    • ‘Pegged rate systems are great for fueling crises, like oily combustibles lying around in a garage; a small flame can start a great fire and take down a house.’
    • ‘The fire service advises keeping candles away from decorations and other combustibles and warn alcohol can increase the chance of making a mistake, so think twice before doing anything that can cause a fire.’
    • ‘Always clear the area below cutting or welding operations so hot slag will not drop on hoses, cables, flammables, combustibles or employees.’
    • ‘As mentioned earlier, the only childhood task I dreaded more than fetching things was hauling combustibles, like paper, down to the shacks by the creek.’
    • ‘Class A extinguishers are used for ordinary combustibles including wood and paper.’
    • ‘Keep furnaces and gas water heaters clear of piled-up boxes or any other combustibles.’
    • ‘Class A Extinguishers can be used on ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, and paper.’
    • ‘‘We say as a rule of thumb keep all combustibles a metre from the heater,’ Chris said.’
    • ‘Primarily under the guise of electricity or combustibles, energy is hardly given a second thought.’
    • ‘I had a look at the company's website and they were storing a veritable cornucopia of combustibles in that place including naptha, a substance used in dry cleaning.’
    • ‘Ideally, thatch roofing and other combustibles were removed.’
    power source, heat source, combustible, propellant
    View synonyms


Early 16th century: from Old French, from late Latin combustibilis, from Latin combust- ‘burnt up’, from the verb comburere.