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See more synonyms for kindle on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), kin·dled, kin·dling.
  1. to start (a fire); cause (a flame, blaze, etc.) to begin burning.
  2. to set fire to or ignite (fuel or any combustible matter).
  3. to excite; stir up or set going; animate; rouse; inflame: He kindled their hopes of victory.
  4. to light up, illuminate, or make bright: Happiness kindled her eyes.
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verb (used without object), kin·dled, kin·dling.
  1. to begin to burn, as combustible matter, a light, fire, or flame.
  2. to become aroused or animated.
  3. to become lighted up, bright, or glowing, as the sky at dawn or the eyes with ardor.
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Origin of kindle1

1150–1200; Middle English kindlen < Old Norse kynda; compare Old Norse kindill torch, candle
Related formskin·dler, noun


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Synonym study

1–3. Kindle, ignite, inflame literally mean to set something on fire. To kindle is to cause something gradually to begin burning; it is often used figuratively: to kindle logs; to kindle someone's interest. To ignite is to set something on fire with a sudden burst of flame; it too is often used figuratively: to ignite straw; to ignite dangerous hatreds. Inflame is most often used figuratively, meaning to intensify, excite, or rouse: to inflame passions.


verb (used with object), kin·dled, kin·dling.
  1. (of animals, especially rabbits) to bear (young); produce (offspring).
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verb (used without object), kin·dled, kin·dling.
  1. (of animals, especially rabbits) to give birth, as to a litter.
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  1. a litter of kittens, rabbits, etc.
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Origin of kindle2

1175–1225; Middle English kindelen, v. use of kindel offspring, young, equivalent to kind- (Old English gecynd offspring; see kind2) + -el -le
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for kindle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Kindle the light of the light-house, and it has nothing to do, except to shine.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • They have coal, but even the wood to kindle the coal is imported.

  • All their explanations only served to kindle anew their anger.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

  • But all his efforts to kindle the fire were in vain; the wood only smoked.

  • She had a twinge of pity, watching the old faces pale and kindle.

British Dictionary definitions for kindle


  1. to set alight or start to burn
  2. to arouse or be arousedthe project kindled his interest
  3. to make or become bright
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Derived Formskindler, noun

Word Origin

C12: from Old Norse kynda, influenced by Old Norse kyndill candle


  1. trademark a portable electronic device for downloading and reading books
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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

Word Origin and History for kindle


c.1200, cundel, "to set fire to, to start on fire," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse kynda "to kindle, to light a fire," Swedish quindla "kindle," of uncertain origin, + frequentative suffix -le. Figurative use from c.1300. Intransitive sense "to begin to burn, to catch fire" is from c.1400. Related: Kindled; kindling.

Influenced in form, and sometimes in Middle English in sense, with kindel "to give birth" (of animals), "bring forth, produce" (c.1200), from kindel (n.) "offspring of an animal, young one," from Old English gecynd (see kind (n.)) + -el.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper