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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those infected as part of the Olympic torch relay helped with traffic control and wore masks, according to local media. Amy Gunia, Time, "8 People Involved in Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay Infected With COVID-19," 3 May 2021 Tokyo Olympics organizers say a police officer tested positive a day after his assignment last week at the Olympic torch relay. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Musicians die, soccer player positive, clinic news, Indy 500 opens up, more - coronavirus timeline April 17-23," 24 Apr. 2021 The surge in cases has caused a rerouting of the Olympic torch relay after its March 25 start in Fukushima. Mari Yamaguchi, USA TODAY, "Japan declares a state of emergency for third time; what does that mean for the Olympics?," 23 Apr. 2021 The Olympic torch relay kicked off on March 25 but has faced challenges due to Covid-19, with cities moving the relay off of public roads and barring spectators. Alison Durkee, Forbes, "Will The Tokyo Olympics Get Canceled? Government Official Suggests It’s A Possibility," 15 Apr. 2021 The Olympic torch relay was held this week in an empty park instead of public streets in Japan’s third-largest city of Osaka as infections in and around the city reach the highest levels seen at any point during the pandemic. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "Tokyo’s Anti-Olympic Movement Ask: Why Haven’t the Games Been Canceled?," 14 Apr. 2021 The Osaka portion of the Olympic torch relay was moved off public roads and into a private park without spectators. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "Olympians Diagnosed With COVID-19 Will Reportedly Quarantine in Designated Tokyo Hotel," 13 Apr. 2021 On Wednesday, 12 days after the Olympic torch relay got off to a joyous start, the route was changed because of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the prefecture of Osaka. Rachel Blount, Star Tribune, "Questions abound, all that the U.S. Olympic contingent can do is push on," 10 Apr. 2021 With the Olympic torch relay set to begin on Thursday and the opening ceremony scheduled for July 23, Japan’s government is defying the wishes of much of the public. New York Times, "Why ‘Cursed’ Olympics Are Pressing Ahead Amid a Pandemic," 24 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Buster Posey continued to torch the Rockies — and well, everyone. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tough day for Logan Webb in loss at Colorado, Giants drop series," 5 May 2021 A week of rioting reached new heights of intense violence in Northern Ireland with clashes overnight Wednesday that saw demonstrators hijack and torch a double-decker bus and battle with police, who responded with plastic bullets. Washington Post, "Days of violence in Northern Ireland blamed in part on Brexit," 8 Apr. 2021 All Jung has to do is recover from a stress fracture in his left foot that will keep him out until at least mid-May and then torch the minor leagues for a month or six weeks. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Rougned Odor won’t make opening day roster, is no longer a Texas Ranger," 29 Mar. 2021 Add a whole cinnamon stick and briefly torch the tip of it with a lighter to add some cinnamon smoke aroma. Leslie Kelly, Forbes, "Wilderton Botanical Distillate Offers A Distinctly Northwest Take On NA Spirits," 12 Mar. 2021 The Buckeyes’ reward for not allowing Clemson’s receiving corps to torch them is a date with someone who might be the first non-quarterback to win the Heisman since 2015 in Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Can Ohio State football beat Alabama in the National Championship in spite of a monster game from Devonta Smith?," 4 Jan. 2021 Regardless of whose version is closer to the truth, Metcalf used the perceived slight as extra motivation to torch the Eagles again during the Seahawks’ 23-17 win over the Eagles Monday night. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks’ DK Metcalf burns the Philadelphia Eagles again after perceived pre-game slight from Eagles’ assistant coach," 1 Dec. 2020 And both believe that the only way to save the country is to torch that system. Andrew Cline, National Review, "Election 2020: The Airing of the Grievances," 2 Nov. 2020 Jamal Murray continues to torch the Jazz at every opportunity, the offense has begun to stagnate with a lack of ball movement, the hustle plays are no longer going their way. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah Jazz remain resolute ahead of Tuesday’s Game 7: ‘We’re not planning on going home’," 31 Aug. 2020

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for torch

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Torch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for torch



English Language Learners Definition of torch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long stick with material at one end that burns brightly



English Language Learners Definition of torch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to set fire to (something, such as a building) deliberately : to cause (something) to burn


\ 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

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