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[pahy-ruh-mey-nee-uh, -meyn-yuh] /ˌpaɪ rəˈmeɪ ni ə, -ˈmeɪn yə/
a compulsion to set things on fire.
Origin of pyromania
1835-45; pyro- + -mania
Related forms
[pahy-ruh-mey-nee-ak] /ˌpaɪ rəˈmeɪ niˌæk/ (Show IPA),
[pahy-roh-muh-nahy-uh-kuh l] /ˌpaɪ roʊ məˈnaɪ ə kəl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pyromaniac
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They could not feel worse if they learned that the child was a thief or a pyromaniac.

    Woman William J. Robinson
British Dictionary definitions for pyromaniac


(psychiatry) the uncontrollable impulse and practice of setting things on fire
Derived Forms
pyromaniac, noun
pyromaniacal (ˌpaɪrəʊməˈnaɪəkəl) adjective
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 pyromaniac

1855, from pyromania. As a noun from 1861.



1840, from pyro- "fire" + mania "madness, frenzy." Used in German in the 1830s.

The propensity which leads an insane person to accomplish his purpose by burning, has been considered to merit particular notice, and to constitute a variety of monomania. Dr. Marc, of France, has published a memoir on the subject; he gives the name of pyromania to it, and considers that, like other insane propensities, it may be the result of instinct, or it may be the result of delusion--reasoning upon erroneous principles. [Alexander Morrison, M.D., "The Physiognomy of Mental Diseases," London, 1840]
An older word for it was incendiarism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pyromaniac in Medicine

pyromania py·ro·ma·ni·a (pī'rō-mā'nē-ə, -mān'yə)
An uncontrollable impulse to start fires.

py'ro·ma'ni·ac' (-mā'nē-āk') adj. & n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pyromaniac in Culture
pyromania [(peye-roh-may-nee-uh)]

An uncontrollable urge to set fires.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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