To kindle a fire is to get it started, to light it. (And if we’re talking about rabbits, they kindle their young, meaning they give birth to them. Either way, the idea is about creating something, bringing something into being.)
In general, to kindle something (like a feeling or an interest) is to cause it, to bring it into being, as if you’re lighting a fire.
Part of speech:
Verb, usually the transitive kind: “the book kindled his love of poetry,” “the film kindled his imagination.”
Kindled, kindling, kindler(s);
rekindle, rekindled, rekindling, rekindler(s), rekindlement.
As you’ll already know if you’re a camper, “kindling” can also mean “material used to start a fire.”
And in older texts, you might see the verb “enkindle,” simply meaning “kindle.”
How to use it:
Use this common but beautiful word to talk about the people, things, ideas, and events that kindle hopes, interests, memories, ambitions, romances, relationships, imagination, social movements, etc.
So far I’ve listed good things that get kindled, but you can also talk about things that kindle rage, jealousy, bitter debates, feuds, wars, etc.
“Of…concern is the book’s title, ‘Supernormal.’ Were this merely a case of alighting on a single, spectacular word to both signal the subject matter within and kindle the curiosity to explore it, it would merit little comment. The title, however, encodes the book’s deep muddle.”
— Hara Estroff Marano, The New York Times, 12 January 2018
“Before him stooped the old figure, white, shining now as if with some light kindled within, bent, laden with years, but holding a power beyond the strength of kings.”
— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, 1954