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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.