[pahy-ruh-mey-nee-uh, -meyn-yuh]


a compulsion to set things on fire.

Origin of pyromania

First recorded in 1835–45; pyro- + -mania
Related formspy·ro·ma·ni·ac [pahy-ruh-mey-nee-ak] /ˌpaɪ rəˈmeɪ niˌæk/, nounpy·ro·ma·ni·a·cal [pahy-roh-muh-nahy-uh-kuh l] /ˌpaɪ roʊ məˈnaɪ ə kəl/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pyromaniac

incendiary, arsonist, firebug

Examples from the Web for pyromaniac

Contemporary Examples of pyromaniac

Historical Examples of pyromaniac

  • They could not feel worse if they learned that the child was a thief or a pyromaniac.


    William J. Robinson

British Dictionary definitions for pyromaniac



psychiatry the uncontrollable impulse and practice of setting things on fire
Derived Formspyromaniac, nounpyromaniacal (ˌpaɪrəʊməˈnaɪəkəl), adjective
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 pyromaniac

1855, from pyromania. As a noun from 1861.



1840, from pyro- "fire" + mania "madness, frenzy." Used in German in the 1830s.

The propensity which leads an insane person to accomplish his purpose by burning, has been considered to merit particular notice, and to constitute a variety of monomania. Dr. Marc, of France, has published a memoir on the subject; he gives the name of pyromania to it, and considers that, like other insane propensities, it may be the result of instinct, or it may be the result of delusion--reasoning upon erroneous principles. [Alexander Morrison, M.D., "The Physiognomy of Mental Diseases," London, 1840]

An older word for it was incendiarism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pyromaniac in Medicine


[pī′rō-mānē-ə, -mānyə]


An uncontrollable impulse to start fires.
Related formspy′ro•mani•ac′ (-mānē-ăk′) adj. n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

pyromaniac in Culture



An uncontrollable urge to set fires.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.