from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a strip of paper impregnated with nitre used as a fuse for firing gunpowder, fireworks etc
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Paper steeped in saltpeter, which burns slowly, and is used as a match for firing gunpowder, and the like.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Paper steeped in niter so that it catches fire from a spark and burns slowly, used for firing gunpowder and other explosives.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Look how many people took off like their blue touch-paper had been lit.
"Papa's going to light the blue touch-paper and retire immediately!"
Spring Fever, or to give it its full untranslated name Chun Feng Chen Zui De Ye Wan is a massively intriguing prospect and one that will surely ignite the proverbial cultural touch-paper back in China.
Citigroup strategists lit the touch-paper with a note upgrading the sector to "neutral" from "underweight," arguing that European drug stocks had never been cheaper relative to other defensive plays.
Quite heedlessly they allowed this touch-paper to lie at the door of their war magazine for any spark to fire.
Nicholas made no reply until the fire of his pipe was established, while he stood in the water quite as if he were on land, supporting himself by nothing more than a gentle movement of his feet, while the glow of the touch-paper lit his round face and yellow leather skull-cap.
His children and I used to sail our toy boats in the river before his house, arming them with toy cannon, touch-paper at all the touch-holes, always hoping but always in vain that they would not twist about in the eddies but fire their cannon at one another.
Light the sodden blue touch-paper and retire to bed.
All are attentive to the godlike man; you might hear a pin drop: the subject is announced once and again in a very audible voice; the touch-paper is ignited, the magazine will blow up presently!
Make touch-paper by soaking any porous paper in a solution of saltpetre, and drying it.