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.

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

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tinder (ˈtɪndə)
1.  dry wood or other easily combustible material used for lighting a fire
2.  anything inflammatory or dangerous: his speech was tinder to the demonstrators' unrest
[Old English tynder; related to Old Norse tundr, Old High German zuntara]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"dry, inflammable substance," O.E. tynder, related to tendan "to kindle," from P.Gmc. *tund- "ignite, kindle" (cf. Goth. tandjan, Swed. tända, Ger. zünden). Tinderbox "box in which tinder and flint are kept" is recorded from 1530; fig. sense of " 'inflammable' person or thing" is attested from
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It could be used as a dandy doorstop, or a stepstool, or tinder for a really
  good fire.
Nobody wants to drive their family around in a rolling tinder box.
The tinder that sparked last summer's rioting remains in plentiful supply.
Trees respond to this stress by shedding leaves, creating openings in the
  forest canopy and adding tinder to the forest floor.
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