The flame of a fire produces light and heat and often flickers or dances. As a verb, to flame is to be on fire or to flare up.

On the Internet, flame has a different meaning: to post or send aggressive, negative, or insulting messages in a public electronic forum. "Flame wars" are exchanges of such messages between individuals or parties and often occur behind a veil of anonymity. It's an appropriate term, given that inflammatory, which takes flame as its root, describes speech or action that tends to incite a heightened and negative response.

Definitions of flame
  1. noun
    the process of combustion of inflammable materials producing heat and light and (often) smoke
    synonyms: fire, flaming
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    blaze, blazing
    a strong flame that burns brightly
    a sudden burst of flame
    the process of initiating combustion or catching fire
    spontaneous combustion
    ignition of a substance (as oily rags) resulting from an internal oxidation process
    type of:
    burning, combustion
    a process in which a substance reacts with oxygen to give heat and light
  2. verb
    be in flames or aflame
    “The sky seemed to flame in the Hawaiian sunset”
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    type of:
    burn, combust
    undergo combustion
  3. verb
    shine with a sudden light
    synonyms: flare
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    type of:
    beam, shine
    emit light; be bright, as of the sun or a light
  4. verb
    criticize harshly, usually via an electronic medium
    “the person who posted an inflammatory message got flamed
Word Family

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