[ in-sen-dee-er-ee ]
See synonyms for incendiary on
  1. used or adapted for setting property on fire: incendiary bombs.

  2. of or relating to the criminal setting on fire of property.

  1. tending to arouse strife, sedition, etc.; inflammatory: incendiary speeches.

  2. tending to inflame the senses: an incendiary extravaganza of music and dance.

noun,plural in·cen·di·ar·ies.
  1. a person who deliberately sets fire to buildings or other property, as an arsonist.

  2. Military. a shell, bomb, or grenade containing napalm, thermite, or some other substance that burns with an intense heat.

  1. a person who stirs up strife, sedition, etc.; an agitator.

Origin of incendiary

1600–10; <Latin incendiārius, equivalent to incendi(um) a fire (incend(ere) to kindle (in-in-2 + -cendere, transitive v. from base of candēre to shine, be hot; see candent, candid, candor) + -ium-ium) + -ārius-ary

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

How to use incendiary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for incendiary


/ (ɪnˈsɛndɪərɪ) /

  1. of or relating to the illegal burning of property, goods, etc

  2. tending to create strife, violence, etc; inflammatory

  1. (of a substance) capable of catching fire, causing fires, or burning readily

nounplural -aries
  1. a person who illegally sets fire to property, goods, etc; arsonist

  2. (esp formerly) a person who stirs up civil strife, violence, etc, for political reasons; agitator

  1. Also called: incendiary bomb a bomb that is designed to start fires

  2. an incendiary substance, such as phosphorus

Origin of incendiary

C17: from Latin incendiārius setting alight, from incendium fire, from incendere to kindle

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