[ fur-nis ]
/ ˈfɜr nɪs /


a structure or apparatus in which heat may be generated, as for heating houses, smelting ores, or producing steam.
a place characterized by intense heat: The volcano was a seething furnace.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Fornax.

verb (used with object), fur·naced, fur·nac·ing.

to heat (a metal piece) in a furnace.

Origin of furnace

1175–1225; Middle English furneis, furnais < Old French fornais, fournais < Latin fornāc- (stem of fornāx kiln, oven), akin to formus warm
Related formsfur·nace·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for furnace


/ (ˈfɜːnɪs) /


an enclosed chamber in which heat is produced to generate steam, destroy refuse, smelt or refine ores, etc
a very hot or stifling place
Derived Formsfurnace-like, adjective

Word Origin for furnace

C13: from Old French fornais, from Latin fornax oven, furnace; related to Latin formus warm
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 furnace



early 13c., from Old French fornaise "oven, furnace" (12c.), from Latin fornacem (nominative fornax) "an oven, kiln," related to fornus, furnus "oven," and to formus "warm," from PIE root *ghwer- "warm" (cf. Greek thermos, Old English wearm; see warm (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper