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furnace

[fur-nis] /ˈfɜr nɪs/
noun
1.
a structure or apparatus in which heat may be generated, as for heating houses, smelting ores, or producing steam.
2.
a place characterized by intense heat:
The volcano was a seething furnace.
3.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Fornax.
verb (used with object), furnaced, furnacing.
4.
to heat (a metal piece) in a furnace.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English furneis, furnais < Old French fornais, fournais < Latin fornāc- (stem of fornāx kiln, oven), akin to formus warm
Related forms
furnacelike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for furnaces

furnace

/ˈfɜːnɪs/
noun
1.
an enclosed chamber in which heat is produced to generate steam, destroy refuse, smelt or refine ores, etc
2.
a very hot or stifling place
Derived Forms
furnace-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French fornais, from Latin fornax oven, furnace; related to Latin formus warm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for furnaces

furnace

n.

early 13c., from Old French fornaise "oven, furnace" (12c.), from Latin fornacem (nominative fornax) "an oven, kiln," related to fornus, furnus "oven," and to formus "warm," from PIE root *ghwer- "warm" (cf. Greek thermos, Old English wearm; see warm (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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furnaces in the Bible

(1.) Chald. attun, a large furnace with a wide open mouth, at the top of which materials were cast in (Dan. 3:22, 23; comp. Jer. 29:22). This furnace would be in constant requisition, for the Babylonians disposed of their dead by cremation, as did also the Accadians who invaded Mesopotamia. (2.) Heb. kibshan, a smelting furnace (Gen. 19:28), also a lime-kiln (Isa. 33:12; Amos 2:1). (3.) Heb. kur, a refining furnace (Prov. 17:3; 27:21; Ezek. 22:18). (4.) Heb. alil, a crucible; only used in Ps. 12:6. (5.) Heb. tannur, oven for baking bread (Gen. 15:17; Isa. 31:9; Neh. 3:11). It was a large pot, narrowing towards the top. When it was heated by a fire made within, the dough was spread over the heated surface, and thus was baked. "A smoking furnace and a burning lamp" (Gen. 15:17), the symbol of the presence of the Almighty, passed between the divided pieces of Abraham's sacrifice in ratification of the covenant God made with him. (See OVEN.) (6.) Gr. kamnos, a furnace, kiln, or oven (Matt. 13:42, 50; Rev. 1:15; 9:2).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for furnaces

furnace

structure in which useful heat is produced by combustion or other means. Historically, the furnace grew out of the fireplace and stove, following the availability of coal for heating. A coal furnace is made up of several elements: a chamber containing a grate on which combustion takes place and through which ashes drop for disposal; a chimney to carry away smoke and provide a draft of air; another source of air supply to help burn volatile gases and hydrocarbons; and a metal surface over which the hot gases pass and which transfers heat to circulating water or air. Coal furnaces are still widely used in industry, where they are usually equipped with mechanical stokers.

Learn more about furnace with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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