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

  • noun The opening in early firearms and cannons through which the powder was ignited.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small tubular opening through the thickness of the barrel of a gun, cannon, or pistol, by means of which fire is communicated to the charge within.

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

  • noun The vent of a cannon or other firearm, by which fire is communicateed to the powder of the charge.

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

  • noun Alternative spelling of touch hole.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • When every lingering scrap of fire had been extinguished inside the barrel they would thrust home the powder bags, then the six-inch shell with its carefully cut fuse protruding from the wooden bung, and the gunner would ram a spike down the touchhole to pierce a canvas powder bag and afterward push a reed filled with more powder down into the punctured bag.

    Sharpe's Havoc

  • Probably a gunner ranging his piece or testing a rebored touchhole.

    Sharpe's Escape

  • The cannon was put on the floor, aiming towards an empty part of the room, three grains of powder were thrust into the touchhole and a match was put to it.

    The Brothers Karamazov

  • Sharpe was mentally counting the seconds, imagining the gun being pushed back into place and then being sponged out, the gunner's thumb over the touchhole to stop the rush of air forced by the incoming sponge from setting fire to any unexploded powder in the breech.

    Sharpe's Havoc

  • It was loaded to the muzzle; but just as the pilot was about to apply a red-hot coal to the touchhole, Mr. Fogg said, “Hoist your flag!”

    Around the World in 80 Days

  • The Sergeant took a length of wire that hung looped on his belt and rammed it through the cannon's touch-hole, piercing the canvas bag beneath, then selected a priming tube, a reed filled with finely milled powder, and slid it down into the powder charge, but leaving a half-inch of the reed protruding above the touchhole.

    Sharpe's Fortress

  • The gunner had to stop the touchhole so that the rammer could not drive a jet of fresh air down the barrel and so ignite any scraps of remaining powder, and Hickson's old and blackened thumbstall betrayed how long he had been an artilleryman.

    Sharpe's Tiger

  • The powder in the pan would light, and the flame would flash through the touchhole to ignite the larger quantity of powder behind the ball.

    A Place Called Freedom

  • He primed his gun, pouring a little powder into the flashpan next to the touchhole, then closed the cover of the pan.

    A Place Called Freedom

  • Harper cocked the flintlock that was soldered onto the carronade's touchhole.

    Sharpe's Devil


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