- a box used formerly for holding tinder, esp one fitted with a flint and steel
- a person or thing that is particularly touchy or explosive
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- a box for holding tinder.
- a person or thing thought of as highly likely to explode, become violent, etc.:For years that region was a tinderbox.
- a box for holding tinder, usually fitted with a flint and steel.
- a person or thing that is highly excitable, explosive, inflammable, etc.;
a potential source of widespread violence:Berlin was the tinderbox of Europe.
- tinder + box1 1520–30