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

  • n. A friction match with a large head capable of burning in a wind.
  • n. A colored flare used as a warning signal for trucks and railroad trains.
  • n. A cone-shaped pulley with a spiral groove, used in a cord- or chain-winding clock to maintain even travel in the timekeeping mechanism as the force of the mainspring lessens in unwinding.
  • n. A combustible fuse for detonating explosives.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A conical, grooved pulley in early clocks.
  • n. A large friction match.
  • n. A fuse for an explosive.
  • n. A colored flare used as a warning on the railroad

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A flintlock gun. See 2d fusil.
  • n. A fuse. See Fuse, n.
  • n.
  • n. A friction match for smokers' use having a bulbous head which when ignited is not easily blown out even in a gale of wind.
  • n. A kind of match made of paper impregnated with niter and having the usual igniting tip.
  • n. A signal device, usually cylindrical, consisting of a tube filled with a composition which burns with a bright colored light for a definite time. It is used principally for the protection of trains or road vehicles, indicating an obstruction or accident ahead. Also called a flare or railroad flare.
  • n. The track of a buck.
  • n. The cone or conical wheel of a watch or clock, designed to equalize the power of the mainspring by having the chain from the barrel which contains the spring wind in a spiral groove on the surface of the cone in such a manner that the diameter of the cone at the point where the chain acts may correspond with the degree of tension of the spring.
  • n. A similar wheel used in other machinery.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as fusil.
  • n. Same as fuse.
  • n. A kind of match for lighting a pipe, cigar, and the like.
  • n. A spindle-shaped figure.
  • n. A cone or solid conical piece in a watch or a spring-clock on which is wound a chain or cord, attached at one end to its widest part and at the other to the barrel containing the mainspring, the action of which unwinds it, transferring it to the barrel.
  • n. In farriery, a kind of splint applied to the leg of a horse.
  • n. See fuse.

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

  • n. a spirally grooved spindle in a clock that counteracts the diminishing power of the uncoiling mainspring
  • n. a friction match with a large head that will stay alight in the wind
  • n. a colored flare used as a warning signal by trucks and trains
  • n. any igniter that is used to initiate the burning of a propellant


From French fusée, spindle, rocket, flare, fuse, from Old French, spindleful of thread, from fus, spindle, from Latin fūsus.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French fusée, ultimately from Latin fūsus ("spindle"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "I was there close by him, by the four of them as they assembled the fusee chain, or four fusee chains."
    The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 141 of the Knopf hardcover edition

    June 6, 2012