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or fox-fire

[foks-fahyuh r] /ˈfɒksˌfaɪər/
noun, Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S.
organic luminescence, especially from certain fungi on decaying wood.
any of various fungi causing luminescence in decaying wood.
Origin of foxfire
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1425-75; See origin at fox, fire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fox-fire
Historical Examples
  • fox-fire is occasionally put to a cruel utility by hunters in association with the "salt-lick" for deer.

    Eye Spy William Hamilton Gibson
  • But for the fox-fire beacons he would have been lost instantly.

    The Forgotten Planet Murray Leinster
  • One's first experience with fox-fire, especially if he chances upon a specimen of some size, is apt to be a memorable incident.

    Eye Spy William Hamilton Gibson
  • If it had anywhere an actual nucleus, that centre remained as impalpable and unmaterial as fox-fire.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • Everybody has seen "fox-fire" in the damp and decaying woods—a cold light which scientists have never been able to explain.

    Boys' Second Book of Inventions Ray Stannard Baker
  • The country people are familiar with the sight of it in wild timber-land, and have given it the name of 'fox-fire.'

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The curtain door of the chamber was rent aside, and Sergeant True bearing aloft his fox-fire torch entered.

    Old Farm Fairies: Henry Christopher McCook
  • They were man-size, too, or nearly so, visible in the dark with the dim radiance of fox-fire.

    The Golgotha Dancers Manly Wade Wellman
  • Are there passages which burn with real fire—not punk, fox-fire, make believe?

  • When the firelight flickered, the eyes of the watching hundreds squatting in the background glowed green like fox-fire.

    Strange Stories of the Great River Abbie Johnston Grosvenor
British Dictionary definitions for fox-fire


a luminescent glow emitted by certain fungi on rotting wood See also bioluminescence
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 fox-fire

also foxfire, late 15c., from fox (n.) + fire (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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