a highly flammable composition, as Greek fire, difficult to extinguish when ignited, formerly used in warfare.
any large fire that spreads rapidly and is hard to extinguish.
sheet lightning, unaccompanied by thunder.
the ignis fatuus or a similar light.
Plant Pathology. a disease of tobacco and soybeans, characterized by brown, necrotic spots, each surrounded by a yellow band, on the leaves and caused by a bacterium, Pseudomonas tabaci.
Pathology Obsolete. erysipelas or some similar disease.

before 1000; Middle English wildefire, Old English wildfȳr. See wild, fire

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wildfire (ˈwaɪldˌfaɪə)
1.  a highly flammable material, such as Greek fire, formerly used in warfare
2.  a.  a raging and uncontrollable fire
 b.  anything that is disseminated quickly (esp in the phrase spread like wildfire)
3.  lightning without audible thunder
4.  another name for will-o'-the-wisp

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E., from wild (adj.) + fire (n.). Originally in ref. to spreading skin diseases; meaning "destructive fire" is attested from 1122; fig. sense is recorded from c.1300.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see spread like wildfire.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Help protect your home from wildfire by creating a fire-safe landscape.
If such systems could predict how a wildfire was likely to behave, that would
  be even better.
It may help bolster right-wingers now, but it's playing with wildfire.
Wildfire season has gotten an early start this year.
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