View synonyms for torch



[ tawrch ]


  1. 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.
  2. something considered as a source of illumination, enlightenment, guidance, etc.:

    the torch of learning.

  3. any of various lamplike devices that produce a hot flame and are used for soldering, burning off paint, etc.
  4. Slang. an arsonist.
  5. Chiefly British. flashlight ( def 1 ).

verb (used without object)

  1. to burn or flare up like a torch.

verb (used with object)

  1. to subject to the flame or light of a torch, as in order to burn, sear, solder, or illuminate.
  2. Slang. to set fire to maliciously, especially in order to collect insurance.



[ tawrch ]

verb (used with object)

  1. Masonry. to point (the joints between roofing slates) with a mixture of lime and hair.


/ tɔːtʃ /


  1. a small portable electric lamp powered by one or more dry batteries US and Canadian wordflashlight
  2. a wooden or tow shaft dipped in wax or tallow and set alight
  3. anything regarded as a source of enlightenment, guidance, etc

    the torch of evangelism

  4. any apparatus that burns with a hot flame for welding, brazing, or soldering
  5. carry a torch for
    to be in love with, esp unrequitedly
  6. put to the torch
    to set fire to; burn down

    the looted monastery was put to the torch


  1. slang.
    tr to set fire to, esp deliberately as an act of arson
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Derived Forms

  • ˈtorchˌlike, adjective
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Other Words From

  • torcha·ble adjective
  • torchless adjective
  • torchlike adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of torch1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun torch(e), from Old French torche, torque, from Vulgar Latin torca (unattested) “something twisted”; torque

Origin of torch2

First recorded in 1850–60; from French torcher “to plaster with a mixture of clay and chopped straw,” derivative of torche “a twist of straw”; torch 1
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Word History and Origins

Origin of torch1

C13: from Old French torche handful of twisted straw, from Vulgar Latin torca (unattested), from Latin torquēre to twist
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. 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.

More idioms and phrases containing torch

see carry a torch ; pass the torch .
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Example Sentences

He also cited contracts and connections with the University of Houston and the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals, known as TORCH.

She’s tired, and maybe we should pick up the torch a little.

From Fortune

As Samek wrote in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, “Runners literally and figuratively passed the torch from one era in feminist history to another.”

I mean, they torch up small trees and they do burn into crowns in certain areas if there’s a steep slope or strong or if it’s a really hot fire.

They often feature multiple brightness levels and strobe functions for emergencies, as well as memory technology that recalls previous settings when the torch is turned on.

Even the track, a mesmerizing torch song called “Before I Ever Met You,” was only available via an obscure SoundCloud link.

Do you remember the first time you were on set in costume as The Human Torch, and what that feeling was like?

By the end of 1960, close to 100,000 disobedients had taken up the Civil Rights torch.

“The bras are made of duct tape that has been burned with a blow torch,” Mirano told The Daily Beast.

When Jean led me back to my tent, he swept the grass repeatedly with the beam of his powerful torch.

Truth is a torch, but one of enormous size; so that we slink past it in rather a blinking fashion for fear it should burn us.

The moment he passed out of her sight some phase of individuality promptly lit its torch.

It was ajar, and Kerry, taking an electric torch from his overall pocket, flashed the light upon the name-plate.

Och, be gorry, it was nuthin' mor'n a big nager fellow holdin a torch for us to eat by.

Kneeling down, he peered into the keyhole, holding the electric torch close beside his face and chewing industriously.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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