from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A flammable substance first used by the Greeks of Constantinople to set fire to enemy ships, buildings etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See under Greek.
  • adj. a combustible composition which burns under water, the constituents of which are supposed to be asphalt, with niter and sulphur.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a mixture used by Byzantine Greeks that was often shot at adversaries; catches fire when wetted


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • But the most violent heat is found in pitch and rosin; and yet more in sulphur, camphor, naphtha, rock oil, and salts (after the crude matter is discharged), and in their compounds, as gunpowder, Greek fire

    The New Organon

  • They hurled Greek fire at him and set light to the tower which was made of fir-planks and cotton-cloth.

    The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville

  • On that day they brought up their perronel in broad daylight, which so far they had only done at night, and flung the Greek fire into our tortoise-towers; and their engines had got the range so accurately onto the finished part of the causeway that no one durst go to the tortoise-towers because of the huge stones that the engines threw, which were falling all over the road.

    The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville

  • Agni-bán (“fire-arrow”) and Shatagni (“hundred - killer”), like the Roman Phalarica, and the Greek fire of

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Hindostan ostentatiously showed a line of elephants, the trophies, rather than the instruments, of victory; the use of the Greek fire was familiar to the Moguls and Ottomans; but had they borrowed from

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • Dutens, &c.,) and the Greek fire above the viith century, (see the Saluste du President des Brosses, tom.ii. p. 381.)

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • I cannot tell; but I think if some of those amongst whom he hurls the Greek fire of his sarcasm, and over whom he flashes the levin-brand of his denunciation, were to take his warnings in time -- they or their seed might yet escape a fatal Ramoth-Gilead.

    Jane Eyre: an autobiography, Vol. I.

  • In the attack and defence of places, the engines of antiquity and the Greek fire were alternately employed: the use of gunpowder in cannon and bombs appears as a familiar practice; 23 and the sieges were conducted by the Mahometans and Franks, who had been liberally invited into the service of Cublai.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • When the Saracens saw this, they directed the shots from all their sixteen engines onto the causeway along which the tortoise had come; and when they saw that our men were afraid to go to the tortoise, because of the falling stones, they brought up the perronel, and flung Greek fire at the tortoise, and burnt it to the ground.

    The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville


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