Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A kind of slow-match or match-cord formerly used to discharge artillery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A case of strong paper filled with a composition of niter, sulphur, and mealed powder, -- used principally to ignite the priming in proving guns, and as an incendiary material in shells.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A case of strong paper filled with a composition of nitre, sulphur, and mealed powder, used principally to ignite the priming in proving guns, and as an incendiary material in shells.

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • You go last, Phil, and when you are down ignite the portfire which is to be the signal to that man in the battery yonder; I and the five who are remaining with me will see to the rest of the business up here.

    Two Gallant Sons of Devon A Tale of the Days of Queen Bess

  • The gunner was just bringing the portfire to the breech and Sharpe knew he should interrupt Hagman's concentration and order his men to take cover, but just then Hagman pulled his trigger, the crack of the rifle startled birds up from the hillside, smoke wreathed about the rocks and Sharpe saw the gunner spin round and the portfire drop as the man clutched his right thigh.

    Sharpe's Havoc

  • Sharpe looked through the hole in the wall and saw the gunner carrying the portfire to the barrel.

    Sharpe's Havoc

  • Just a glimmer that swiftly vanished, but it was yellow, and he knew it came from a screened lantern and that someone, a gunner probably, had drawn back the screen to throw a small wash of light, and then there was another light, this one red and tiny, and Sharpe knew it was the howitzer's portfire.

    Sharpe's Havoc

  • No shots had come for a long time and their own infantry had made a perfunctory search, and the French were probably feeling safer, for the gunner foolishly tried to revive the portfire by whipping it back and forth a couple of times until its tip glowed a brighter red.

    Sharpe's Havoc

  • He could smell the gunsmoke, though, and he saw the red portfire move as the gunner put it aside.

    Sharpe's Havoc

  • A quill filled with a finely mealed powder stuck from the cannon's touch-hole, and a portfire smoked and fizzed inside a protective barrel at the back of the gunpit.

    Sharpe's Devil

  • Sharpe plucked the portfire from its barrel and blew on its burning tip till the fuse glowed a brilliant red.

    Sharpe's Devil

  • A quill filled with a finely mealed powder stuck from the cannon's touch-hole, and a portfire smoked and fizzed inside a protective barrel at the back of the gunpit.

    Sharpe's Devil

  • Sharpe plucked the portfire from its barrel and blew on its burning tip till the fuse glowed a brilliant red.

    Sharpe's Devil

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