Definition of tinder in US English:



  • Dry, flammable material, such as wood or paper, used for lighting a fire.

    • ‘Pine needles greatly increase the flammable surface area of these trees, making ideal tinder for rapid ignition.’
    • ‘He cleaned the waterfowl expertly and made a fire with a box of tinder and a collection of dried sticks on the flat top of an exposed boulder embedded into the earth.’
    • ‘His method of character development consists of striking his two leads together trying to elicit sparks; alas, the script provides no comedic tinder to be ignited.’
    • ‘The teenage pyromaniacs experimented with different fuel sources, different sorts of fats (some very smelly) and oils, moss, dry rotten wood and home baked tinder using a cotton handkerchief.’
    • ‘Political tinder is spread all around the landscape, but who will strike the match?’
    • ‘Often, the tundra is like tinder and a badly tended fire can created havoc with pasture for musk ox, deer and reindeer.’
    • ‘The pea stalks, dry as tinder, caught quickly and burned merrily, sending a plume of clean white smoke up to catch the wind.’
    • ‘He didn't have any flint or tinder, but he gathered wood and used his magic to light a fire.’
    • ‘In forests that by nature burn lightly and frequently, putting out every fire can leave tinder to build up and fuel a much greater conflagration.’
    • ‘Finally some of the girls stepped in and started throwing some tinder and sticks in the fire.’
    • ‘So, for heaven's sake, don't add tinder to the fire.’
    • ‘He got out his tinder and after a few moments a merry fire was burning.’
    • ‘The tinder is there for rebellion to catch fire across British society.’
    • ‘From this small piece of tinder the conflagration arose: word spread that the cartridges were part of a wider British plot to convert the entire subcontinent to Christianity.’
    • ‘The combination of a naturally arid environment, years of drought and poor planning is proving to be dry tinder in a combustible atmosphere.’
    • ‘The image of thought here is of lightning, in search of tinder, suddenly blazing into our heads.’
    • ‘Because of the dry tinder inside, firefighters had to check to ensure the fire had not got through to any other floorboards.’
    • ‘In the same way as a magnifying glass can be used in bright sunlight to set fire to dry tinder, sound energy can be focused and used to raise temperatures to the point at which the cells will die.’
    • ‘Place two handfuls of tinder in the center of the fire circle.’
    • ‘The heated, heady campus milieu provides tinder for explosive debates in which more than mere politics is at stake.’


Old English tynder, tyndre, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch tonder and German Zunder.