fu·​see | \ fyü-ˈzē How to pronounce fusee (audio) \

Definition of fusee

1 : a conical spirally grooved pulley in a timepiece from which a cord or chain unwinds onto a cylinder containing the mainspring and which by its increasing diameter compensates for the lessening power of the spring
2 : a red signal flare used especially for protecting stalled trains and trucks

First Known Use of fusee

1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fusee

borrowed from French fusée "mass of thread around a spindle, explosive fuse, rocket, fusee in a timepiece," going back to Old French fusee "mass of thread around a spindle," from fus "spindle" (going back to Latin fūsus, of obscure origin) + -ee, suffix of association or containment, going back to Late Latin -āta (going back to Latin, feminine of -ātus -ate entry 3)

Note: In the later Middle Ages, French fusée designated a kind of rudimentary gunpowder-filled projectile, apparently resembling thread wound around a spindle—hence the later application to fuses, fireworks, etc.

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Cite this Entry

“Fusee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fusee. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fusee

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fusee


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