To build or fuel a fire, to set fire or ignite. Also, to cause to glow, to light up and to arouse emotions.


Dated back to the 1200’s, the verb kindle comes from the Old Norse noun of kyndill, meaning candle, and the related verb kynda- to light a fire.

Why this word?

Not too long ago, my book-loving mother purchased the Amazon Kindle, and offered me one as well, rightfully saying that soon I will need to rent another room, just for my books (“also think of the dust you have to clean, the trees… get a Kindle” she said). I thought about it, and surely decided it will never happen; loving books is not only loving to read, it is also this specific ability to bundle peoples’ thoughts into these beautiful paper packs, and keeping all those thoughts at home. Storing it on a technological-mobile device is just not that. I then told my mother that I would burn books before I’d purchase a kindle. It is not that I have something against it, it’s a great invention, but it doesn’t fit with my personal preferences.

To make a long story short, the Kindle just doesn’t kindle me.

How to use kindle?

The sense of starting a fire is easy to use- “David, why does it take you so long to kindle the fire?” but the figurative sense is much nicer. In the sense of lighting or causing light we can say that “the skies were kindled by sunset” or “the candle softly kindles the room“. With the arousing-emotional sense, we can play even further, consider the word spark;”no spark had yet kindled in him an intellectual passion” wrote George Elliot.

My love for David wasn’t kindled in a moment” or “his words kindle the very depths of my soul”.


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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