Definition of combust in English:



  • 1 Consume by fire.

    • ‘The latter provides the oxygen required to combust the soot particles and is completely reduced to nitrogen oxide in the process.’
    • ‘Instead of using on-board oxygen to combust the hydrogen fuel, the scramjet scoops up oxygen as it travels through the atmosphere.’
    • ‘You need to essentially combust a lot of fossil fuel to make your nitrogen even for some sugar cane plantations.’
    • ‘When combusting hydrocarbons in an engine, the energy emitted is from the breaking of the carbon and hydrogen bonds ignited in the presence of oxygen from the air.’
    • ‘Once nutrients make their way into a neuron, small furnaces within the cells turn them into energy by combusting glucose and oxygen.’
    • ‘They travel more than 1.3 billion miles annually to deliver some 4.7 billion packages, combusting tens of millions of gallons of diesel fuel along the way.’
    • ‘The specimens were then baked in an oven at 450°C for four hours to combust all organic matter.’
    • ‘In a ‘calorimeter’ a substance can be combusted in the presence of oxygen, to measure the amount of heat generated per gram.’
    • ‘Fossil fuels are versatile in that they may be combusted to provide heat, burnt in an internal combustion engine to provide mechanical energy/power (eg for transport) or used to generate electricity in a power station.’
    • ‘Bomb calorimeters measure the heat released from combusting the enclosed sample, leaving behind only ash.’
    • ‘After washing and drying, it was combusted to recover any carbon dioxide for the radiocarbon analysis.’
    • ‘All other rockets must carry a heavy load of oxygen to combust their fuel, but the scramjet extracts its own oxygen from the atmosphere and mixes it with liquid hydrogen on board to form fuel.’
    • ‘Researchers are trying to eliminate the flame, replacing it with a catalyst that combusts methane at lower temperature, emitting less smog-producing nitrogen oxide pollution.’
    • ‘These pollutants should be removed and treated with a non-burn technology before the waste or methane is combusted, he adds.’
    • ‘Creating a hydrogen vapor and spraying it into the engine makes it easier to combust the incoming air-fuel mixture, greatly reducing wall wetting.’
    • ‘Ethanol's high oxygen content allows automobile engines to combust fuel better, resulting in reduced tail pipe emissions.’
    • ‘It won't combust the ship, I've run enough tests on it already to determine that.’
    1. 1.1[no object]Be consumed by fire.
      • ‘Fiberglass insulation, in contrast, melts at slightly over 1,100 degrees, and cellulose combusts during house fires.’
      • ‘In a typical experiment to determine the heat of combustion, a known amount of substance would be combusted in a sealed container (a bomb calorimeter) submerged in a well-insulated water bath.’
      • ‘This gentle contemplation was soon broken, however, by the overwhelming odours of sulphur and phosphorous, and for a brief moment the thought occurred that the building had spontaneously combusted from the pure energy.’
      • ‘Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year.’
      • ‘They had run off terrified to their panel van, and backed it cautiously down the track before roaring off in a cloud of incompletely combusted petrol fumes and clattering beer cans.’
      • ‘But heading down the 18th, back in the lead he enjoyed at the start of play, he nearly combusted but managed to rescue a bogey after a less than perfect approach shot, over-long chip and over-hit putt.’
      • ‘They always come to a halt, have a price check, and sometimes spontaneously combust the second I get in line.’
      • ‘If a writer pens something purely for the sake of getting readers riled up, especially when it's something she or he doesn't really believe, it seems to me that all credibility and trust has spontaneously combusted.’
      • ‘It combusts perfectly, leaving no residue, no ash.’
      • ‘This resulted in the conversion of English iron works to coke - a partially combusted form of coal generated in much the same way as charcoal.’
      • ‘The Daily Mail building would spontaneously combust.’
      • ‘The title comes from an image of a moth so in love with a flame that it keeps flinging itself into a candle until it combusts.’
      • ‘If two men planning such an attack spontaneously combusted minutes before they initiated it, I'd call that fortunate.’
      • ‘During ascents, a single-setting heel lifter keeps your calves from combusting, while the girth of the two-edged ‘skis’ makes walking through deep powder a breeze.’
      • ‘But I do love a good fight: sources have reported that the two were vacationing on the exotic beach of St. Tropez and almost combusted with fury.’
      • ‘He was calm outwardly; inside, as he said later, he was combusting.’
      • ‘One disaster averted, the visitors swiftly combusted again.’
      • ‘Therefore the engine combusts a little bit less and puts out slightly less thrust.’
      • ‘If the pressure in the cylinder exceeds this point then the fuel will combust before the spark plug fires, thus throwing the engine's rhythm out of time.’
      • ‘Everything she feels is combusting in her face.’


Late 15th century: from obsolete combust burned, calcined from Latin combustus, past participle of comburere burn up.