smolder

When a fire is barely burning, it's smoldering. Fires can smolder for days without anyone's knowing, then burst into a conflagration that gets the fire department sirens wailing all over town.

Smolder is a word that is often used figuratively to describe situations or people's feelings. You might say tensions between the North and South smoldered for years before the outbreak of the Civil War. And if your school cafeteria eliminates tater tots from the menu, students' smoldering dissatisfaction with the menu options might erupt into all-out food fight.

Definitions of smolder
  1. verb
    burn slowly and without a flame
    “a smoldering fire”
    synonyms: smoulder
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    type of:
    burn, combust
    undergo combustion
  2. verb
    have strong suppressed feelings
    synonyms: smoulder
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    type of:
    experience, feel
    undergo an emotional sensation or be in a particular state of mind
  3. noun
    a fire that burns with thick smoke but no flame
    synonyms: smoulder
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    type of:
    fire
    the event of something burning (often destructive)
Word Family
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