[ kuhm-buhs-chuhn ]
See synonyms for: combustioncombustive on

  1. the act or process of burning.

  2. Chemistry.

    • rapid oxidation accompanied by heat and, usually, light.

    • chemical combination attended by production of heat and light.

    • slow oxidation not accompanied by high temperature and light.

  1. violent excitement; tumult.

Origin of combustion

1400–50; late Middle English (<Middle French ) <Late Latin combūstiōn- (stem of combūstiō). See combust, -ion

Other words from combustion

  • com·bus·tive, adjective
  • non·com·bus·tion, noun
  • non·com·bus·tive, adjective
  • pre·com·bus·tion, noun
  • self-com·bus·tion, noun
  • un·com·bus·tive, adjective

Words Nearby combustion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use combustion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for combustion


/ (kəmˈbʌstʃən) /

  1. the process of burning

  2. any process in which a substance reacts with oxygen to produce a significant rise in temperature and the emission of light

  1. a chemical process in which two compounds, such as sodium and chlorine, react together to produce heat and light

  2. a process in which a compound reacts slowly with oxygen to produce little heat and no light

Origin of combustion

C15: from Old French, from Latin combūrere to burn up, from com- (intensive) + ūrere to burn

Derived forms of combustion

  • combustive, noun, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for combustion


[ kəm-bŭschən ]

  1. The process of burning.

  2. A chemical change, especially through the rapid combination of a substance with oxygen, producing heat and, usually, light. See also spontaneous combustion.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for combustion


Burning; a chemical reaction that involves the rapid combination of a fuel with oxygen. (See oxidation and spontaneous combustion.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.