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[in-flam-uh-buh l] /ɪnˈflæm ə bəl/
capable of being set on fire; combustible; flammable.
easily aroused or excited, as to passion or anger; irascible:
an inflammable disposition.
something inflammable.
Origin of inflammable
1595-1605; < Medieval Latin inflammābilis, equivalent to Latin inflammā(re) to inflame + -bilis -ble
Related forms
inflammability, inflammableness, noun
inflammably, adverb
noninflammability, noun
noninflammable, adjective
noninflammableness, noun
noninflammably, adverb
uninflammability, noun
uninflammable, adjective
Can be confused
inflammable, inflammatory.
2. fiery, volatile, choleric.
Usage note
Inflammable and flammable both mean “combustible.” Inflammable is the older by about 200 years. Flammable now has certain technical uses, particularly as a warning on vehicles carrying combustible materials, because of a belief that some might interpret the intensive prefix in- of inflammable as a negative prefix and thus think the word means “noncombustible.” Inflammable is the word more usually used in nontechnical and figurative contexts: The speaker ignited the inflammable emotions of the crowd. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for inflammability
Historical Examples
  • The inflammability of Oil evidently proves that it contains the phlogiston.

  • It is also used in fireworks on account of its inflammability.

    Commercial Geography Jacques W. Redway
  • Another defect is the volatility and inflammability of carbon bisulphide.

  • The Lucifer matches depend altogether on phosphorus for their inflammability.

    Great Facts Frederick C. Bakewell
  • Its inflammability is, of course, a serious obstacle to its general use.

    Plague Thomas Wright Jackson
  • Besides this, petroleum is highly dangerous on account of its inflammability.

    Paper and Printing Recipes J. Sawtelle Ford
  • From what we have seen of Goethe's inflammability, we are prepared for the naïve remark in which he records his new sensation.

    The Youth of Goethe Peter Hume Brown
  • Apparently unknown to Murdock, previous observations had been made as to the inflammability of gas from coal.

    Artificial Light M. Luckiesh
  • We find that it differs in respect to its purity, and also in respect to its inflammability.

  • Risk depends, of course, largely upon the character and inflammability of the forest cover and the presence of human causes.

    Our National Forests Richard H. Douai Boerker
British Dictionary definitions for inflammability


liable to catch fire; flammable
readily aroused to anger or passion
something that is liable to catch fire
Derived Forms
inflammability, inflammableness, noun
inflammably, adverb
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 inflammability



early 15c., in medicine, "liable to inflammation," from Middle French inflammable and directly from Medieval Latin inflammabilis, from Latin inflammare (see inflame). As "able to be set alight," c.1600. Related: Inflammability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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