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

n the process of combustion of inflammable materials producing heat and light and (often) smoke

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

v be in flames or aflame

“The sky seemed to flame in the Hawaiian sunset”
Type of:
burn, combust
undergo combustion

v shine with a sudden light

Type of:
beam, shine
emit light; be bright, as of the sun or a light

v criticize harshly, usually via an electronic medium

“the person who posted an inflammatory message got flamed
Type of:
castigate, chasten, chastise, correct, objurgate
censure severely

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