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torch1

[tawrch] /tɔrtʃ/
noun
1.
a light to be carried in the hand, consisting of some combustible substance, as resinous wood, or of twisted flax or the like soaked with tallow or other flammable substance, ignited at the upper end.
2.
something considered as a source of illumination, enlightenment, guidance, etc.:
the torch of learning.
3.
any of various lamplike devices that produce a hot flame and are used for soldering, burning off paint, etc.
4.
Slang. an arsonist.
5.
Chiefly British, flashlight (def 1).
verb (used without object)
6.
to burn or flare up like a torch.
verb (used with object)
7.
to subject to the flame or light of a torch, as in order to burn, sear, solder, or illuminate.
8.
Slang. to set fire to maliciously, especially in order to collect insurance.
Idioms
9.
carry the / a torch for, Slang. to be in love with, especially to suffer from unrequited love for:
He still carries a torch for his ex-wife.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English torche (noun) < Old French < Vulgar Latin *torca something twisted. See torque
Related forms
torchable, adjective
torchless, adjective
torchlike, adjective

torch2

[tawrch] /tɔrtʃ/
verb (used with object)
1.
to point (the joints between roofing slates) with a mixture of lime and hair.
Origin
1840-50; < French torcher to plaster with a mixture of clay and chopped straw, derivative of torche a twist of straw. See torch1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for torches
  • Painted terracotta cones for torches were also embedded in the plaster.
British Dictionary definitions for torches

torch

/tɔːtʃ/
noun
1.
a small portable electric lamp powered by one or more dry batteries US and Canadian word flashlight
2.
a wooden or tow shaft dipped in wax or tallow and set alight
3.
anything regarded as a source of enlightenment, guidance, etc: the torch of evangelism
4.
any apparatus that burns with a hot flame for welding, brazing, or soldering
5.
carry a torch for, to be in love with, esp unrequitedly
6.
put to the torch, to set fire to; burn down: the looted monastery was put to the torch
verb
7.
(transitive) (slang) to set fire to, esp deliberately as an act of arson
Derived Forms
torchlike, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French torche handful of twisted straw, from Vulgar Latin torca (unattested), from Latin torquēre to twist
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 torches

torch

n.

late 13c., from Old French torche, originally "twisted thing," hence "torch formed of twisted tow dipped in wax," probably from Vulgar Latin *torca, alteration of Late Latin torqua, variant of classical Latin torques "collar of twisted metal," from torquere "to twist" (see thwart). In Britain, also applied to the battery-driven version (in U.S., flashlight). Torch song is 1927 ("My Melancholy Baby," performed by Tommy Lyman, is said to have been the first so called), from carry a torch "suffer an unrequited love" (also 1927), an obscure notion from Broadway slang.

v.

"set fire to," 1931, from torch (n.). Related: Torched; torching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for torches

torch

noun

An arsonist; an incendiary; firebug: If your suspicions are right, the torch will be close by (1938+)

verb

To set a fire deliberately; burn a building: The lumberyard at 12th and C was torched, for the insurance (1931+)

Related Terms

carry the torch


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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torches in the Bible

On the night of his betrayal, when our Lord was in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas, "having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons" (John 18:1-3). Although it was the time of full moon, yet in the valley of the Kidron "there fell great, deep shadows from the declivity of the mountain and projecting rocks; there were there caverns and grottos, into which a fugitive might retreat; finally, there were probably a garden-house and tower, into whose gloom it might be necessary for a searcher to throw light around." Lange's Commentary. (Nahum 2:3, "torches," Revised Version, "steel," probably should be "scythes" for war-chariots.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with torches
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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12
12
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