or fox-fire

[foks-fahyuh r]

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 word dating back to 1425–75; see origin at fox, fire Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fox-fire

Historical Examples of fox-fire

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for fox-fire



a luminescent glow emitted by certain fungi on rotting woodSee 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

Word Origin and History for fox-fire

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper