1–3. fire, light. Kindle, ignite, inflame imply setting something on fire. To kindle is especially to cause something gradually to begin burning; it is often used figuratively: to kindle someone's interest. To ignite is to set something on fire with a sudden burst of flame: to ignite dangerous hatreds. Inflame is now found chiefly in figurative uses, as referring to unnaturally hot, sore, or swollen conditions in the body, or to exciting the mind by strong emotion: The wound was greatly inflamed. 3. arouse, awaken, bestir, incite, stimulate.