bon·​fire ˈbän-ˌfī(-ə)r How to pronounce bonfire (audio)
: a large fire built in the open air

Examples of bonfire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Besides holiday lights and animals, the zoo will sport a bonfire. John Bordsen, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 So his partners made a toboggan out of a tarp and slid him downhill to a flat area where another member of the party had started a bonfire using gasoline and an emergency flare to burn green wood. Brett French, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 As the show depicts, the writer repaid all that intimacy by setting a bonfire to the swans’ vanities — the alcohol, the anorexia, the plastic surgery, the straying husbands, not to mention the streak of feral bitchiness, which matched his own. Maureen Dowd, New York Times, 26 Jan. 2024 Later, entering the city the moment the ’77 Summer of Sam blackouts hit, reaching CBGB as all order disintegrates, finding owner Hilly Krystal out front with a candle, reversing course and racing out of the city, swerving around moon-eyed looters, watching as the Bronx becomes a bonfire. Jonathan Rowe, SPIN, 23 Jan. 2024 Then, visit Ecola State Park before holding a romantic bonfire at Cannon Beach. Molly O'Brien, Travel + Leisure, 6 Jan. 2024 But amid the bonfire parties, hikes and open mics the town had to offer, Mr. Li had better things to do than dwell on the negative. Gilles Sabrié Vivian Wang, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2024 Local and national artists (Deborah Michels Gang, Lee Pen Sky, Sista Sarah & Pocket of Bones, Ben Burdick Trio, Dan Castello, Owen Soren, Sperry Hunt, Jenn Snyder & Rochelle Smith Duo, Dave Robinette, more), arts and crafts fair, bonfire music jams, free camping. Michelle Jenkins, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 If your state, city, county or neighborhood allows, have a (moderate-size) backyard bonfire to keep warm for a while. 25. Wire Service, The Mercury News, 17 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bonfire.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English bonefire a fire of bones, from bon bone + fire

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bonfire was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near bonfire

Cite this Entry

“Bonfire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


bon·​fire ˈbän-ˌfī(ə)r How to pronounce bonfire (audio)
: a large outdoor fire

More from Merriam-Webster on bonfire

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