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touch paper

noun
  1. paper saturated with potassium nitrate to make it burn slowly, used for igniting explosives and fireworks.
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Origin of touch paper

First recorded in 1740–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for touch paper

Historical Examples

  • The appearance of the rocket is shown at fig. 36; the dotted line round the mouth shows the touch-paper.

    The Pyrotechnist's Treasury

    Thomas Kentish

  • The match is lit at t; but this may have a long bit of touch-paper attached to it, if preferred.

  • William made some touch-paper, which he lighted with one of the glasses from the telescope, and they soon had a good fire.

    Masterman Ready

    Captain Frederick Marryat

  • Thus, if the ashes of a cigar be well rubbed into a bit of paper, they convert it into touch-paper.

    The Art of Travel

    Francis Galton

  • Lighting the touch-paper in his tobacco-box, he passed it over the body of the hound which had attacked me, and then of the other.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle