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Borrowed from Old French incendiaire, from Latin incendiārius (setting alight), from incendium (destructive fire), from incendō (I set on fire, kindle), from in- (into, in, on, upon) + candeō (I am hot).


  • (UK) enPR: ĭnsĕn'dĭərē, IPA(key): /ɪnˈsɛn.dɪ.əɹ.i/, /ɪnˈsɛn.djəɹ.i/
  • (US) enPR: ĭnsĕn´dĭĕ'rē, IPA(key): /ɪnˈsɛn.di.ɛɹ.i/, /ɪnˈsɛn.di.əɹ.i/
  • (file)


incendiary (comparative more incendiary, superlative most incendiary)

  1. Capable of, or used for, or actually causing fire.
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 1, in Internal Combustion[1]:
      Blast after blast, fiery outbreak after fiery outbreak, like a flaming barrage from within, [] most of Edison's grounds soon became an inferno. As though on an incendiary rampage, the fires systematically devoured the contents of Edison's headquarters and facilities.
  2. Intentionally stirring up strife, riot, rebellion.
  3. Inflammatory, emotionally charged.
    Politics is an incendiary topic; it tends to cause fights to break out.



incendiary (plural incendiaries)

  1. Something capable of causing fire, particularly a weapon.
    The military used incendiaries to destroy the building. Fortunately, the fire didn't spread.
  2. One who maliciously sets fires; an arsonist.
  3. (figuratively) One who excites or inflames factions into quarrels; an agitator.
    • Bentley
      Several cities [] drove them out as incendiaries.