Webster 1828 Edition



Setting on fire; causing to burn with flame; exciting into action.

Definition 2023





kindling (countable and uncountable, plural kindlings)

  1. Small pieces of wood and twigs used to start a fire.
    Go and collect some kindling.
    • 1907, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “chapter III”, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
      When the flames at last began to flicker and subside, his lids fluttered, then drooped ; but he had lost all reckoning of time when he opened them again to find Miss Erroll in furs kneeling on the hearth and heaping kindling on the coals, and her pretty little Alsatian maid beside her, laying a log across the andirons.
  2. The act by which something is kindled.
    • Hester Rogers
      The kindlings of love which had been felt before, now became a flame in every believing soul; and when fallen on our knees, the power of God descended of a truth []

Usage notes

Kindling refers to the second stage of building a fire: tinder is used to light kindling, which then lights the main fire.

Coordinate terms




  1. present participle of kindle
    Despite the damp wood, he had no trouble kindling a fire.