- a light to be carried in the hand, consisting of some combustible substance, as resinous wood, or of twisted flax or the like soaked with tallow or other flammable substance, ignited at the upper end.
- something considered as a source of illumination, enlightenment, guidance, etc.: the torch of learning.
- any of various lamplike devices that produce a hot flame and are used for soldering, burning off paint, etc.
- Slang. an arsonist.
- Chiefly British. flashlight(def 1).
- to burn or flare up like a torch.
- to subject to the flame or light of a torch, as in order to burn, sear, solder, or illuminate.
- Slang. to set fire to maliciously, especially in order to collect insurance.
- carry the/a torch for, Slang. to be in love with, especially to suffer from unrequited love for: He still carries a torch for his ex-wife.
Origin of torch1
- to point (the joints between roofing slates) with a mixture of lime and hair.
Origin of torch2
Examples from the Web for torch
Thankfully, my father took up the torch and left no doubt that we were looked after.Why I Choose to Be Child-Free: Readers Share Their Stories
February 27, 2013
It feels like someone is chopping up my legs with a machete or burning them with a torch from the inside out.New Jersey Patients in Pain Over Scarcity of Medical Marijuana
February 7, 2013
After an image-invigorating tenure as U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton will pass the torch to Sen. John Kerry on Friday.Week in Review: Cheat Sheet to the Week’s Big News (VIDEO)
February 1, 2013
China carried the torch: Under Mao Tse-tung, “the Chinese people were doing well.”There Are Still Communists?
October 18, 2012
Clarence House today released a video of Prince Harry speaking about the start of the Paralympics torch relay.Yay! Harry Keeps Clothes On In New Paralympics Video Message!!
August 24, 2012
The prize was bestowed on him who ran the course without extinguishing his torch.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
Dorothea was holding a torch, the liquid droppings of which fell upon her hands.The Dream
His torch will be at the threshold and his knife at the throat of the planter.The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
It was the torch of a fisherman—one of those eyes of the South of which Artois had thought.A Spirit in Prison
The cabman bought a torch from a passer-by, and stuck it in his whip-barrel.A Son of Hagar
Sir Hall Caine
- a small portable electric lamp powered by one or more dry batteriesUS and Canadian word: flashlight
- a wooden or tow shaft dipped in wax or tallow and set alight
- anything regarded as a source of enlightenment, guidance, etcthe torch of evangelism
- any apparatus that burns with a hot flame for welding, brazing, or soldering
- carry a torch for to be in love with, esp unrequitedly
- put to the torch to set fire to; burn downthe looted monastery was put to the torch
- (tr) slang to set fire to, esp deliberately as an act of arson
Word Origin and History for torch
late 13c., from Old French torche, originally "twisted thing," hence "torch formed of twisted tow dipped in wax," probably from Vulgar Latin *torca, alteration of Late Latin torqua, variant of classical Latin torques "collar of twisted metal," from torquere "to twist" (see thwart). In Britain, also applied to the battery-driven version (in U.S., flashlight). Torch song is 1927 ("My Melancholy Baby," performed by Tommy Lyman, is said to have been the first so called), from carry a torch "suffer an unrequited love" (also 1927), an obscure notion from Broadway slang.
"set fire to," 1931, from torch (n.). Related: Torched; torching.