\ ˈpī(-ə)r How to pronounce pyre (audio) \

Definition of pyre

: a combustible heap for burning a dead body as a funeral rite broadly : a pile of material to be burned a pyre of dead leaves

Examples of pyre in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The political right, busy with building a great funeral pyre, has been arguing among itself how best to proceed against the progressive Democrats' superior position in culture — entertainment, academia, social and news media. John Kass, Star Tribune, "Limbaugh was a raw but always real voice for forgotten Americans," 19 Feb. 2021 In The Disappearing City, Wright’s 1932 treatise on his ideal metropolis, the architect tried to immolate the concept of the industrial city on a pyre of adjectives. Richard Cooke, The New Republic, "The Perpetual Disappointment of Remote Work," 4 Jan. 2021 In addition to the regular groups of knights, angels and other medieval marchers, the krewe is setting up several scenes, including Joan on the pyre, Joan receiving her sword and a soldiers’ encampment., "Phunny Phorty Phellows, Jeanne d'Arc tableaux and more upcoming New Orleans events as Carnival kicks off," 4 Jan. 2021 But a grisly mix-up had been made on the death certificate, and soon the wrong body would be burned on the funeral pyre. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: Not turning the corner," 29 Oct. 2020 Audio of crackling fire represented the world-cleansing funeral pyre. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Twilight: Gods’ Review: Drive-Through Opera in the Motor City," 19 Oct. 2020 The dead are poor — in an Indian village, a man’s family borrows a wooden cart that a neighbor used to sell fish and carries his body to his funeral pyre. Washington Post, "A mysterious new illness turns deadly," 27 Sep. 2020 Still, gathering digital kindling and dragging the accused off to the pyre, let alone calling for Billy Eichner to replace her, goes a bit far. Jd Heyman,, "The price of nice: What the Ellen DeGeneres controversy means for the future of her show — and for us," 21 Sep. 2020 Based on microscopic plant remains found among the ashes, the pyre may have used reed grasses along with wood as fuel or as a platform for the dead. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "This 9,000-year-old skeleton is the oldest cremation in the Near East," 17 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pyre.' 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 pyre

1587, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pyre

Latin pyra, from Greek, from pyr fire — more at fire

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Statistics for pyre

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pyre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for pyre



English Language Learners Definition of pyre

: a pile of wood for burning a dead body


\ ˈpīr How to pronounce pyre (audio) \

Kids Definition of pyre

: a heap of wood for burning a dead body

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More from Merriam-Webster on pyre

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pyre

Nglish: Translation of pyre for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pyre for Arabic Speakers

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