from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A portable light produced by the flame of a stick of resinous wood or of a flammable material wound about the end of a stick of wood; a flambeau.
  • noun Chiefly British A flashlight.
  • noun Something that serves to illuminate, enlighten, or guide.
  • noun Slang An arsonist.
  • noun A portable apparatus that produces a very hot flame by the combustion of gases, used in welding and construction.
  • noun Longstanding unrequited romantic feelings for a person.
  • transitive verb To cause to burn or undergo combustion, especially with extraordinary rapidity, force, or thoroughness.
  • idiom (carry a torch) To have longstanding feelings of love that are not requited.
  • idiom (put to the torch) To destroy by fire; burn down.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To fish with the aid of a torch by night.
  • To flare or smoke like a torch; rise like the smoke from a torch: with up: as, how those clouds torch up!
  • In plastering, to point with lime and hair: said of the inside joints of slating laid on lathing.
  • noun A similar torch used in plumbing, gas-fitting, electric-wiring, etc., for giving a heating flame wherever a condensed hot flame is required. It is made in many forms. Where air-pressure is used it is called a gasolene blow-torch. It is sometimes used as a paint-burner
  • noun A lamplighters' torch using gasolene.
  • noun A light to be carried in the hand, formed of some combustible substance, as resinous wood, or of twisted flax, hemp, etc., soaked with tallow or other inflammable substance; a link; a flambeau.
  • noun An oil-lamp borne on a pole or other appliance for carrying a light easily and without danger.

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

  • noun A light or luminary formed of some combustible substance, as of resinous wood; a large candle or flambeau, or a lamp giving a large, flaring flame.
  • noun (Bot.) See under Thistle.

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

  • noun A stick with a flame on one end, used chiefly as a light source; a similarly shaped implement with a replaceable supply of flammable material.
  • noun UK, Australia, New Zealand A portable light source powered by electricity; a flashlight.
  • verb To set fire to, especially by use of a torch (flaming stick).

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

  • verb burn maliciously, as by arson
  • noun tall-stalked very woolly mullein with densely packed yellow flowers; ancient Greeks and Romans dipped the stalks in tallow for funeral torches
  • noun a light usually carried in the hand; consists of some flammable substance
  • noun a small portable battery-powered electric lamp
  • noun a burner that mixes air and gas to produce a very hot flame


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

[Middle English torche, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *torca, alteration of Latin torqua, variant of torquēs, torque, from Latin torquēre, to twist; see terkw- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French torche, ultimately from Latin torqueō ("twist").



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

  • Cops on Rollerblades

    Protect the Olympic flame.

    Busing of the torch?

    Olympic Torch Relay in Paris Halted as Protests Spread, The New York Times, April 8, 2008.

    April 8, 2008

  • Good grief. If this weren't so sad, I'd think it was an Onion spoof.

    April 8, 2008

  • Not sure what exactly the fuzz are protecting. The flame's lame.

    April 8, 2008

  • Well, the actual flame that the torch is lit from is apparently kept in a "separate container." (This made me wonder what the hell kind of container it is.) But I do loves me summa that Olympics. Oh yeys, I loves me the Olympics.

    April 8, 2008

  • I'm with you there, c_b.

    April 8, 2008