Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday May 11, 2004
conflagration \kon-fluh-GRAY-shuhn\ , noun:
1. A large and destructive fire; a general burning.
2. Something like a conflagration; conflict; war.
When the cane fields were set alight to rid them of snakes and the sky was brilliant with orange and yellow, Kwaku knew that there was a profound meaning in the conflagration and the rain of ash that fell in its aftermath.
-- Roy Heath, Kwaku
Every winter the city seemed to go up in a conflagration of house fires: faulty furnaces, kerosene lamps knocked over, exploding water heaters, damp wiring, bored kids playing with matches, burglars turned arsonists this year, to cover their tracks, always something.
-- Alvin Greenberg, How the Dead Live
Though now we talk about lots of smaller wars, what's to prevent a really big conflagration?
-- Robert D. Kaplan, An Empire Wilderness
Conflagration comes from Latin conflagratio, from conflagrare, "to burn up," from com-, intensive prefix + flagrare, "to blaze."