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Definition of "combust" [com•bust]

  • To catch fire; burst into flame: The fire started when a pile of oily rags spontaneously combusted. (verb-intransitive)
  • To undergo combustion; burn: As the fuels were combusting they gave off noxious vapors. (verb-intransitive)
  • To become suddenly angry or agitated: The defendant combusted when he heard the verdict. (verb-intransitive)
  • To cause to burn; ignite. (verb-transitive)
  • To cause to become angry or violent: riots that are combusting whole provinces. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "combust" in a sentence
  • "The heat necessary to combust is created by the high compression ratio."
  • "Now, Eugene, wouldn’t it be much more fun for us to sit back and wait for it to spontaneously combust from the flammable gases?"
  • "If a pile rises to 160 degrees or more it could spontaneously combust, which is why the zoo is acquiring a thermometer to measure internal temperature of its manure piles."