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[tin-der] /ˈtɪn dər/
a highly flammable material or preparation formerly used for catching the spark from a flint and steel struck together for fire or light.
any dry substance that readily takes fire from a spark.
Origin of tinder
before 900; Middle English; Old English tynder; akin to German Zunder, Old Norse tundr, Old English -tendan (as in ātendan to set on fire), Gothic tundnan to catch fire, German -zünden in entzünden to kindle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tinder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For striking a light, a flint and steel with tinder were used.

    The Historical Child Oscar Chrisman
  • How am I to get this spark from the flint and steel to set fire to my tinder?

    The Story of a Tinder-box Charles Meymott Tidy
  • We are each of us provided with a box of little phosphorus sticks by which we are to do away entirely with all use of tinder.

  • When I blow on the tinder my object is to nourish the flame.

    The Story of a Tinder-box Charles Meymott Tidy
  • The fire engines throbbed up almost immediately, but the building was doomed from the start and went like tinder.

    The War Romance of the Salvation Army Evangeline Booth and Grace Livingston Hill
British Dictionary definitions for tinder


dry wood or other easily combustible material used for lighting a fire
anything inflammatory or dangerous: his speech was tinder to the demonstrators' unrest
Derived Forms
tindery, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tynder; related to Old Norse tundr, Old High German zuntara
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 tinder

"dry, inflammable substance," Old English tynder, related to tendan "to kindle," from Proto-Germanic *tund- "ignite, kindle" (cf. Gothic tandjan, Swedish tända, German zünden).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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