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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fox-fire
Historical Examples
  • But for the fox-fire beacons he would have been lost instantly.

    The Forgotten Planet Murray Leinster
  • If it had anywhere an actual nucleus, that centre remained as impalpable and unmaterial as fox-fire.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • 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.
  • Are there passages which burn with real fire—not punk, fox-fire, make believe?

  • 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
  • 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
  • It was very marked 93 ; as decided a phosphorescence as that of the fire-fly, or the fox-fire of the Virginia meadows.

  • 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
  • There are other sources of light, not mentioned by 27 Mr. Talmage—lightning-bugs, phosphorescent beetles, and fox-fire.

  • Burl's eyes moved restlessly over the sleeping forms limned by a patch of fox-fire.

    The Forgotten Planet Murray Leinster
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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