1610s, "act of heating to the point of combustion," from French ignition or directly from Medieval Latin ignitionem (nominative ignitio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin ignire "set on fire," from ignis "fire" (see igneous). Meaning "means of sparking a fire" (originally in a gun) is from 1881; meaning "means of sparking an internal combustion engine" is from 1906.
also hotwire, "bypass the ignition key to start a motor vehicle," 1966, from hot-wire (adj.), which is attested from 1889 in reference to electricity wires. Related: Hot-wired; hot-wiring.
name taken by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin (1890-1986), Soviet minister of foreign affairs 1939-1949, from Russian molot "hammer," cognate with Latin malleus, from PIE root *mele- "to crush, grind." Molotov cocktail "glass bottle filled with flammable liquid and a means of ignition" (1940) is a term from Russo-Finnish War (used and satirically named by the Finns).
The noun meaning "premature ignition in an internal-combustion engine" is recorded by 1897. As a verb, of schemes, plans, etc., "to affect the initiator rather than the intended object" it is attested from 1912, a figurative use from the accidental back-firing of firearms.
also jumpstart, "to start a car engine using battery booster cables," by 1970; see jump (n.) + start (v.). The sense of jump is that in the jump-spark ignition system, attested from 1883 in gas-lighting, from c. 1902 as a common way to start an automobile; hence also jumper "wire used to cut out ('jump over') part of a circuit or to close a gap," a sense attested from 1901 in telegraphy. Related: Jumpstarted; jumpstarting. Figurative use by 1975. Jump-leads "jumper-cables" is from 1969; jumper-cables from 1961.
"combustible cord or tube for lighting an explosive device," also fuze, 1640s, from Italian fuso, literally "spindle" (the ignition device so called for its shape, because the originals were long, thin tubes filled with gunpowder), from Latin fusus "a spindle," which is of uncertain origin. Influenced by French cognate fusée "spindleful of hemp fiber," and obsolete English fusee "musket fired by a fuse," which is from French. Meaning "device that breaks an electrical circuit" is first recorded 1884, so named for its shape, but erroneously attributed to fuse (v.) because it melts.
1620s, "action, state, or condition of touching," from Latin contactus "a touching" (especially "a touching of something unclean, contamination"), from past participle of contingere "to touch, seize," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + tangere "to touch," from PIE root *tag- "to touch, handle."
The figurative sense of "a connection, communication" is attested from 1818. The meaning "a person who can be called upon for assistance" is attested by 1931. As a call to the person about to spin an aircraft propeller to signal that the ignition is switched on, contact was in use by 1913.
To make contact (1860) originally was in reference to electrical circuits. Contact lens " thin artificial lens placed directly on the surface of the eye to correct visual defects" is first recorded 1888, in a translation of an article published in Zurich in 1887 by A. Eugen Fick; contacts for "contact lenses" is from 1957. Contact sport, for one involving bodily contact, is attested from 1922.