torch

A torch is a handheld light. Although flashlights are sometimes called "torches," technically a torch has a burning flame.

Torch can also be used as a verb indicating that something has been purposely set on fire. For example, arsonists have been known to torch empty buildings just for fun. This meaning dates to 1931. The noun form of torch has been around a lot longer. In the late 13th century torch came into English from the Old French word torche, or "twisted thing," which was a piece of wax-dipped rope.

Primary Meanings of torch

1.
nv
a light usually carried in the hand; consists of some flammable substance
burn maliciously, as by arson
2.
n
tall-stalked very woolly mullein with densely packed yellow flowers; ancient Greeks and Romans dipped the stalks in tallow for funeral torches
Full Definitions of torch
1

n a light usually carried in the hand; consists of some flammable substance

Types:
flambeau
a flaming torch (such as are used in processions at night)
Type of:
light, light source
any device serving as a source of illumination

n a small portable battery-powered electric lamp

Synonyms:
flashlight
Types:
penlight
a small flashlight resembling a fountain pen
Type of:
electric lamp
a lamp powered by electricity

n a burner that mixes air and gas to produce a very hot flame

Synonyms:
blowlamp, blowtorch
Types:
oxyacetylene torch
a blowtorch that burns oxyacetylene
Type of:
burner
an apparatus for burning fuel (or refuse)

v burn maliciously, as by arson

“The madman torched the barns”
Type of:
burn, burn down, fire
destroy by fire
2

n tall-stalked very woolly mullein with densely packed yellow flowers; ancient Greeks and Romans dipped the stalks in tallow for funeral torches

Synonyms:
Aaron's rod, Verbascum thapsus, common mullein, flannel mullein, great mullein, woolly mullein
Type of:
flannel leaf, mullein, velvet plant
any of various plants of the genus Verbascum having large usually woolly leaves and terminal spikes of yellow or white or purplish flowers

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.