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[tin-der] /ˈtɪn dər/
a highly flammable material or preparation formerly used for catching the spark from a flint and steel struck together for fire or light.
any dry substance that readily takes fire from a spark.
Origin of tinder
before 900; Middle English; Old English tynder; akin to German Zunder, Old Norse tundr, Old English -tendan (as in ātendan to set on fire), Gothic tundnan to catch fire, German -zünden in entzünden to kindle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tinder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When he heard the drums he flared up like a spark in the tinder.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • It's yersel' knows the tinder feet that's on me since ever I 've bin in this counthry.

  • You see I have the tinder now safely secured in my tinder-box.

    The Story of a Tinder-box Charles Meymott Tidy
  • I want one of these sparks, if I can persuade it to do so, to fall on my tinder.

    The Story of a Tinder-box Charles Meymott Tidy
  • Here is the flint, the tinder being contained in this little box.

    The Story of a Tinder-box Charles Meymott Tidy
British Dictionary definitions for tinder


dry wood or other easily combustible material used for lighting a fire
anything inflammatory or dangerous: his speech was tinder to the demonstrators' unrest
Derived Forms
tindery, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tynder; related to Old Norse tundr, Old High German zuntara
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tinder

"dry, inflammable substance," Old English tynder, related to tendan "to kindle," from Proto-Germanic *tund- "ignite, kindle" (cf. Gothic tandjan, Swedish tända, German zünden).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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