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catherine wheel


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See pinwheel.


After Saint Catherine of Alexandria (died A.D. 307), who was condemned to be tortured on a wheel.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


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  • The Catherine wheel (also Catharine wheel, pinwheel) is a type of firework consisting of a powder-filled spiral tube, or an angled rocket mounted with a pin through its centre. When ignited, it rotates quickly, producing a display of sparks and coloured flame.

    The firework is named for the wheel on which St. Catherine was martyred.


    February 16, 2008