What Does the Name “Tinder” Mean? How Do You Pronounce It?

If you’re single (and even if you’re not!) you’ve probably heard of the dating app Tinder. It’s one of the most popular mobile dating apps today. What you may not know is the meaning of the word tinder itself.

Catching Fire

The word tinder is actually already a real English word! It means any dry substance that readily takes fire from a spark. It’s also used as a metaphor to describe things or concepts that are inflammatory or controversial. (Notice how the word inflammatory is also a metaphor related to fire.)

A (Romantic) Spark

In English, there are many metaphors about dating and relationships that relate to the concept of fire. They often use terms like heat, warmth, and hot. In particular, the word spark is often used to describe excitement, ‘chemistry’ or compatibility.

George is a really nice guy, but there is just no spark. I don’t love him.

In fact, the founders of Tinder started with the name Matchbox but then decided to find another fire-related name for the app:

“We liked that sort of fire theme, so actually we looked through a dictionary, a thesaurus, something like that, looking for fire-related words.”
Source: Jonathan Badeen, Tinder Co-Founder

Tinder: Sparking Love

Thus, the name Tinder basically means the place where the ‘spark’ of love can happen. A clever name, indeed.

How Do You Pronounce Tinder?

It’s pretty easy! It rhymes with the word cinder (as in cinder block) but doesn’t rhyme with binder (a folder for keeping papers).


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