a. Causing or designed to cause fires: an incendiary device.
b. Of or containing chemicals that produce intensely hot fire when exploded: an incendiary bomb.
c. Intentionally started or set: an incendiary fire.
2. Tending to arouse strong emotion or conflict; inflammatory: an incendiary speech.
3. Causing a strong burning sensation in the mouth; very hot: incendiary wasabi.
n. pl. in·cen·di·ar·ies
1. An incendiary bomb, bullet, or device.
2. A person who intentionally starts a fire with the purpose of causing damage or injury.
3. One who creates or stirs up conflict; an agitator.
[Middle English, from Latin incendiārius, from incendium, fire, from incendere, to set on fire; see INCENSE1.]
in·cendi·a·rism (-ə-rĭz′əm) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.