bon·​fire | \ ˈbän-ˌfī(-ə)r How to pronounce bonfire (audio) \

Definition of bonfire

: a large fire built in the open air

Examples of bonfire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Fearful of foreign pests, USDA entomologists burned them in a great bonfire on the National Mall. National Geographic, "How cherry blossoms came to the United States," 29 Mar. 2019 That means no bonfires, campfires, open flame cooking fires, outdoor fireplaces or yard debris burning. Anchorage Daily News, "It’s Independence Day and fire danger in Anchorage and across Southcentral Alaska is very high. What you need to know.," 2 July 2019 But the lack of clarity on his return fueled a bonfire of speculation, rumor and amateur medical diagnosing. Scott Ostler,, "Ecstasy and agony for the Warriors and Kevin Durant," 10 June 2019 There’s fly-fishing during the day, bonfires at night, and a library, theater, and massage room among the amenities for eight families housed in individual suites attached to the main lodge. Brian Macquarrie,, "At Maine retreat, disabled veterans find sense of belonging," 6 July 2018 On a high school trip to Jordan’s ancient city of Petra, a group of teenagers sneak out at night to drink beer, smoke weed and gossip around a bonfire. Isabel Debre, Fortune, "Netflix's First Original Arabic Series, 'Jinn,' Stirs Up Outrage in Jordan," 21 June 2019 During the Slavic holiday of Ivan Kupala, long timed to the summer solstice, people wear floral wreaths and dance around bonfires. National Geographic, "What is the summer solstice? The answer might surprise you.," 20 June 2019 People around the world observe the change of seasons with bonfires and festivals and Fête de la Musique celebrations. Stephen Schneider, Quartz, "An astronomer’s guide to the summer solstice," 20 June 2019 On a high school trip to Jordan’s ancient city of Petra, a group of teenagers sneak out at night to drink beer, smoke weed and gossip around a bonfire. Washington Post, "Netflix’s first Arabic original sparks backlash on home turf," 19 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bonfire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bonfire

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bonfire

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

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Dictionary Entries near bonfire

bone whale




Bonfire Night



Statistics for bonfire

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for bonfire

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

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More Definitions for bonfire



English Language Learners Definition of bonfire

: a large outdoor fire


bon·​fire | \ ˈbän-ˌfīr How to pronounce bonfire (audio) \

Kids Definition of bonfire

: a large fire built outdoors

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More from Merriam-Webster on bonfire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bonfire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bonfire

Spanish Central: Translation of bonfire

Nglish: Translation of bonfire for Spanish Speakers

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