Definition of ignite in English:



  • 1Catch fire or cause to catch fire.

    [no object] ‘furniture can give off lethal fumes when it ignites’
    [with object] ‘he lit a cigarette which ignited the petrol fumes’
    • ‘The gas inside the fuel lines caught on fire, and then ignited all the gas in the gas tank in one large explosion.’
    • ‘Electrical storms ignited 46 new fires there in the past day.’
    • ‘He dismissed speculations that the fire was ignited by electrical faults or caused by foul play.’
    • ‘Once ignited, this fire would have proceeded very quickly, especially if the doors had been left open.’
    • ‘While it may not be possible to predict when fires are going to ignite, it certainly is possible to work out remedial measures such as replacing old plant machinery.’
    • ‘A plant reactor exploded during a failed cooling system test, igniting a massive fire that burned for ten days.’
    • ‘The large, mushroom-like plume was caused by a massive fire which ignited over 100 cars at a scrapyard at Dunsink Lane, Finglas.’
    • ‘But the one on the first floor did ignite a fire inside the room which the hotel staff is still sort of struggling to put out.’
    • ‘The wet weather put the dampeners on most of the grass fires that ignite during the usually drier summer months.’
    • ‘Then the jeep exploded, sending a wave of flame and debris ripping through the front of the hotel and igniting a fire that destroyed most of the building within an hour.’
    • ‘In another incident the poor air circulation prevented the smoke alarm from going off when a small fire ignited.’
    • ‘The newspapers are full of information about the apocalypse - greenhouse gasses will ignite massive fires, melt the ice caps, and submerge half the planet.’
    • ‘Officials in Oklahoma today are warning that dangerous new fires could ignite at any time.’
    • ‘The fire, believed to have started when a cigarette ignited petrol, began in the shed behind the home of the Maxwell family in the Poleglass district of the city.’
    • ‘Most fires ignite between November and February, Stevens said.’
    • ‘The fire was ignited by pyrotechnics set off as the heavy metal band Great White began their set.’
    • ‘A pair of jeans left to dry by the gas fire ignited.’
    • ‘It appears the cause was an overheated extension power strip connected to an air conditioner, which caught on fire and ignited a carpet and a couch.’
    • ‘A missile ignited a fire that burned for three days and claimed 132 lives.’
    • ‘When a fire ignites in a large building, its steel core does not melt, but over time it weakens.’
    catch fire, catch, burst into flames, be set off, erupt, explode
    light, set fire to, set on fire, set alight, set burning, fire, kindle, inflame, touch off
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    1. 1.1[with object]Arouse or inflame (an emotion or situation)
      ‘the words ignited new fury in him’
      • ‘The spark that ignited communal passions in the State was the burning of some compartments in a train that carried activists of the saffron camp.’
      • ‘The magazine's story at most provided an incidental spark that ignited the explosive outrage against US policies and practices that exists throughout the region.’
      • ‘This was the spark that ignited the discontent aroused by the eradication of coca fields, following Washington's guidelines.’
      • ‘They complement each other perfectly, but neither failed to ignite in me anything more than the recognition that the vibe had suddenly changed.’
      • ‘As the former England manager surveyed the debris by which he was surrounded, he knew that a spark was required to ignite the passion for which they were renowned in the north-east.’
      • ‘These critics have rightly emphasized Tourgee's influence on Chesnutt's career as a writer, as one of the sparks which ignited his literary aspirations.’
      • ‘The listing of this bird as endangered ignited emotions across the southwest.’
      • ‘What does it tell us about our political culture that it has taken an act of physical violence to ignite public interest in this election campaign?’
      • ‘And for a team like the Calgary Flames, which has missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, you need a pretty big spark to ignite playoff hopes.’
      • ‘Their minds were like kindling, I reflected; all they needed was a spark to ignite a love of learning that would lift them above the drugs, violence, and poverty.’
      • ‘That achievement, however tentative and imperfect, would ignite mounting aspirations for democratization from Iran to Morocco.’
      • ‘Set with beautiful stonework on the outside, designed to ignite the aesthetic emotions of hip-seeking purists, the city is falling apart, but no one will ever know.’
      • ‘This is the source of the play's farcical energy, the spark that ignites its passion and its black comedy.’
      • ‘She took me around the world when I was very young and ignited that fire in me.’
      • ‘The rebellion in him was ignited when at the instigation of a money lender, his father was murdered.’
      • ‘Let's hope that these sparks will ignite the anger of workers.’
      • ‘When that rate of monetary ease got above the 6% level, animal emotions were ignited in the equity markets.’
      • ‘If the views here don't ignite your passion, might we suggest bass fishing?’
      • ‘He would be the spark which would ignite their oppressed fury.’
      • ‘That gesture contained plenty of fuel for those who want to hate the United States, and also enough spark to ignite new hatreds, no doubt.’
      arouse, kindle, trigger, spark, instigate, excite, provoke, foment
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Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘make intensely hot’): from Latin ignire set on fire, from ignis fire.