Conflate vs conflagrate

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Conflate and conflagrate are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and are often confused. We will examine the meanings of the words conflate and conflagrate, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Conflate means to combine two ideas, sets of data or information into one thing. To be conflated, these two ideas or sets of information must be factually unrelated. Usually, the word conflate is used to mean a situation in which someone is confused on an issue, though one may conflate information on purpose in order to prove one’s point in a dishonest fashion. Conflate is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are conflates, conflated, conflating, conflation. The word conflate is derived from the Latin stem conflat- meaning to melt together.

Conflagrate means to set on fire or to catch fire. It may be used as a transitive verb or an intransitive verb, related words are conflagrates, conflagrated, conflagrations, conflagration. The word conflagrate is derived from the Latin stem conflagrate– which means to set on fire.


“We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection, because we get rewarded with these short-term signals – hearts, likes, thumbs-up -and we conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth. (The Brisbane Times)

Actor and exhausting talker Matt Damon has waded haphazardly into discussion of a post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood, by embarking on a car-crash interview in which he appeared to conflate false accusations of sexual misconduct with the #MeToo movement, and argued that men who have groped or harassed women should be forgiven as they haven’t molested children or raped women. (The Telegraph)

Today, the ANC just like some former liberation movements, faces another crisis likely to conflagrate into open irreconcilable factions. (The Herald)