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[pahyuh r] /paɪər/
a pile or heap of wood or other combustible material.
such a pile for burning a dead body, especially as part of a funeral rite, as in India.
Origin of pyre
1650-60; < Latin pyra < Greek pyrá hearth, funeral pile
Can be confused
buyer, byre, pyre. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pyre
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In utter misery Dido, on pretext of burning all Æneas' love-gifts, prepares a pyre and summons a sorceress.

  • And from the ruins of the pyre stepped forth a magnificent bird.

    David and the Phoenix Edward Ormondroyd
  • L'Tunga was waiting at the pyre and directed the witch-doctors how to place the body on its summit.

    Adventures in Swaziland Owen Rowe O'Neil
  • And yet, when it came to the point, Max hesitated to give the order to fire the pyre.

    Two Daring Young Patriots W. P. Shervill
  • In the evening the pyre was lighted, and round this huge bonfire people made mildly merry with gambols and dances.

    Odd Bits of History Henry W. Wolff
  • The pyre became wrapped in flames, the Warlock began to burn.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • They marked off the circle where the barrow should be, made a foundation for it about the pyre, and forthwith heaped up the earth.

    The Iliad Homer
  • Phyllis dropped down in front of this door and made her second pyre.

    Madge Morton's Secret Amy D. V. Chalmers
British Dictionary definitions for pyre


a heap or pile of wood or other combustible material, esp one used for cremating a corpse
Word Origin
C17: from Latin pyra, from Greek pura hearth, from pur fire
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 pyre

1650s, from Latin pyra and directly from Greek pyra "funeral pyre; altar for sacrifice; any place where fire is kindled," from pyr "fire," cognate with Old English fyr (see fire (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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