Origin of flame

1300–50; (noun) Middle English flaume < Anglo-French, variant of flaumbe; Old French flambe, earlier flamble < Latin flammula, diminutive of flamma flame (see -ule); (v.) Middle English flaumen < Anglo-French flaum(b)er; Old French flamber < Latin flammāre, derivative of flamma
Related formsflam·er, nounflame·less, adjectiveflame·like, adjectiveout·flame, verb (used with object), out·flamed, out·flam·ing.pre·flame, adjectiveun·der·flame, noun

Synonyms for flame

1. fire. Flame, blaze, conflagration refer to the light and heat given off by combustion. Flame is the common word, referring to a combustion of any size: the light of a match flame. Blaze usually denotes a quick, hot, bright, and comparatively large flame: The fire burst into a blaze. Conflagration refers to destructive flames which spread over a considerable area: A conflagration destroyed Chicago.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flame

Contemporary Examples of flame

Historical Examples of flame

  • There was a rush and faint roar of the flame up the chimney as the cardboard burned.

  • There was a flame at his heart, a burning lump in his throat.


    William J. Locke

  • But there was the decree, written in letters of blood and flame.


    William J. Locke

  • "Because I want to do it myself," she said at last, and thrust the envelope into the flame.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • History records the experiences of but one man who has seen a flame in the open.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

British Dictionary definitions for flame



a hot usually luminous body of burning gas often containing small incandescent particles, typically emanating in flickering streams from burning material or produced by a jet of ignited gas
(often plural) the state or condition of burning with flamesto burst into flames
a brilliant light; fiery glow
  1. a strong reddish-orange colour
  2. (as adjective)a flame carpet
intense passion or ardour; burning emotion
informal a lover or sweetheart (esp in the phrase an old flame)
informal an abusive message sent by electronic mail, esp to express anger or criticism of an internet user


to burn or cause to burn brightly; give off or cause to give off flame
(intr) to burn or glow as if with fire; become red or fieryhis face flamed with anger
(intr) to show great emotion; become angry or excited
(tr) to apply a flame to (something)
(tr) archaic to set on fire, either physically or with emotion
informal to send an abusive message by electronic mail
See also flameout
Derived Formsflamer, nounflameless, adjectiveflamelet, nounflamelike, adjectiveflamy, adjective

Word Origin for flame

C14: from Anglo-French flaume, from Old French flambe, modification of flamble, from Latin flammula a little flame, from flamma flame
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

Word Origin and History for flame

mid-14c., from Anglo-French flaume, Old French flamme (10c.), from Latin flammula "small flame," diminutive of flamma "flame, blazing fire," from PIE *bhleg- "to shine, flash," from root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)).

The meaning "a sweetheart" is attested from 1640s; the figurative sense of "burning passion" was in Middle English. Flame-thrower (1917) translates German flammenwerfer (1915).


early 14c., flamen, from Old French flamer, from flamme (see flame (n.)). The sense of "unleash invective on a computer network" is from 1980s. Related: Flamed; flaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for flame



The hot, glowing mixture of burning gases and tiny particles that arises from combustion. Flames get their light either from the fluorescence of molecules or ions that have become excited, or from the incandescence of solid particles involved in the combustion process, such as the carbon particles from a candle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with flame


see add fuel to the fire (flames); burst into (flames); fan the flames; go up in flames; shoot down (in flames).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.