noun, often attributive
\ ˈtȯrch How to pronounce torch (audio) \

Definition of torch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a burning stick of resinous wood or twist of tow used to give light and usually carried in the hand : flambeau
2 : something (such as tradition, wisdom, or knowledge) likened to a torch as giving light or guidance pass the torch to the next generation
3 : any of various portable devices for emitting an unusually hot flame — compare blowtorch
4 chiefly British : flashlight sense 1


torched; torching; torches

Definition of torch (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to set fire to with or as if with a torch

Synonyms & Antonyms for torch

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of torch in a Sentence

Noun in an insurance scam, the slumlord hired a torch to burn the tenement down Verb An arsonist torched the building. police suspect that the owner torched the house for the insurance money
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate The San Francisco 49ers’ momentous passing of the quarterback torch took place with all the pomp and ceremony of passing the salt shaker at the dinner table. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 July 2022 Then, with Herro, Adebayo and draft picks dealt, there would be no future, instead likely the passing of the Pat Riley torch. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 25 July 2022 There’s also a new museum on the grounds with the original torch and artifacts. New York Times, 15 July 2022 Fragments from the explosion hit the statue and lodged into the skirt and torch. Phillip Nieto, Fox News, 8 July 2022 My having mastered the torch on my mobile phone suddenly provided an amusing short-term lifeline for the production. Marshall Heyman, Town & Country, 23 June 2022 This requires me to use an acetylene torch, which has been one of the more empowering tools to master during my PhD. Renée Zurui Wang, Washington Post, 14 June 2022 Operating any torch with an open flame is also prohibited. Angela Cordoba Perez, The Arizona Republic, 13 June 2022 According to police, Berry poured gasoline on himself, the woman, and the house, and lit a torch. Adam Sabes, Fox News, 17 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Northern California will be affected, as well, the atmospheric blowtorch coming as fires torch the Golden State, including the swiftly moving Oak Fire, whose explosive growth has triggered numerous evacuations and a state of emergency. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, 25 July 2022 With the British threatening to torch Dutch and Chinese ships in the bay and bombard Nagasaki unless the Phaeton was fully stocked with food and water, Doeff and Matsudaira had few options. Rob Goss, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2022 That her scheme will torch the Byrdes' latest efforts to make good with the cartel and move into (mostly) above-the-board business is almost a bonus, a catharsis after years of doing their bidding. David Faris, The Week, 29 Apr. 2022 The 6-1, 188-pound Olave is a polished route runner with sure hands who can torch single coverage. Baltimore Sun, 4 Apr. 2022 The arena, however, was ablaze — quite literally, as the unlikely collaborators became the first of several performers to torch the stage. Mark Sutherland, Variety, 8 Feb. 2022 The rest of the women use their time to torch their absent enemy, Shanae. Kristen Baldwin,, 8 Feb. 2022 After sanding the top and practicing their burning technique on scrap wood, Zoe and Andrew scorched the grain by moving the plumbers torch back and forth, working in sections, and keeping the flame about 6 inches from the surface. Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Feb. 2022 Terence Davis, a 21% three-point shooter against the rest of the league, continued to torch the Clippers from behind the arc for the second time in a week with outlier-level accuracy. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 4 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of torch


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1901, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for torch


Middle English torche, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *torca, alteration of Latin torqua something twisted, collar of twisted metal, alteration of torques; akin to Latin torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Time Traveler for torch

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The first known use of torch was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near torch



torch azalea

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Torch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for torch


\ ˈtȯrch How to pronounce torch (audio) \

Kids Definition of torch

1 : a flaming light that is made of something which burns brightly and that is usually carried in the hand
2 : something that gives light or guidance She passed the torch of family traditions to her children.
3 : a portable device for producing a hot flame a welder's torch


\ ˈtȯrch How to pronounce TORCH (audio) \

Medical Definition of TORCH

: a group of pathological agents that cause similar symptoms in newborns and that include especially a toxoplasma (Toxoplasma gonii), cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, and the togavirus causing German measles

History and Etymology for torch

toxoplasma, rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus

More from Merriam-Webster on torch

Nglish: Translation of torch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of torch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about torch


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