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flammable & inflammable

Posted by Jim on April 19, 2004

Normally the prefix "in" means the opposite of the following word e.g. edible and inedible, direct and indirect, etc...

Does anyone therefore know why flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?

I'm wondering why there are two words for exactly the same thing. I wonder whether they originally meant easily set on fire and not able to be set on fire, but over time they were confused to mean the same thing.