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 There is the fact that Tribal Council often takes place on sets whose decor (rickety rope bridges, torches, fire pits that double as amphitheaters) is less evocative of Lord of the Flies than of Legends of the Hidden Temple. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Paranoid Style in American Entertainment," 14 May 2020 Last week Tokujin Yoshioka, the Japanese designer who created what would have been the next Olympic torch, drew plaudits for an ingenious face shield solution. Clay Chandler, Fortune, "As the pandemic rages, designers race to create more face masks and shields," 21 Apr. 2020 Backed by bamboo-style torches, a smiling Eisele sports flowers in her hair and a yellow faux-grass skirt. Jen Juneau,, "Hillary Scott and Husband Create Sweet 'Luau' (at Home!) After Daddy-Daughter Dance Is Canceled," 15 Apr. 2020 To do this, roll up a spare piece of newspaper, light one end like a torch, and stick it up your chimney for a few moments. Vince Guerrieri, Popular Mechanics, "Why Fire Is the Greatest Tool of All Time," 17 Feb. 2020 The stadium grounds will also feature the 85-foot tall carbon-fiber and aluminum Al Davis memorial torch -- a tribute to the Raiders late owner -- that when completed will be the largest 3D printed object in the world. Melinda Sheckells, Billboard, "Inside Allegiant Stadium's Plan to Change Live Music In Las Vegas," 28 Jan. 2020 Neither did the two for Ben, so producers decided to just fly Cirie out to Fiji and snuff her torch instead. Dalton Ross,, "Survivor: Winners at War finale recap: Dominance is rewarded," 14 May 2020 Harden has carried the torch for Sun Devil basketball in the NBA for years. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Sun Devil vs. Sun Devil: Luguentz Dort impresses against James Harden in first NBA start," 21 Jan. 2020 With a rocker’s bleached-out shag, ropy arms vined with tattoos and jangly silver bracelets, and skintight jeans slashed by rips and rivets, Mr. Webb was a proudly resolute bearer of the punk-glam torch, even as the decades moved inexorably along. Penelope Green, New York Times, "Jimmy Webb, Purveyor of Punk Fashion, Is Dead at 62," 16 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And the point when the Nittany Lions began to torch the twine. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball stuns Penn State, 79-71; now tied atop Big Ten," 4 Mar. 2020 Although the construction quickly became a tourist attraction, some villagers were unhappy with its appearance, pledging to torch it by Halloween, Oct. 31. Ali Zerdin,, "Statue mocking Donald Trump torched in Slovenia," 9 Jan. 2020 The Bronco was found torched at the foot of the Talkeetna Mountains the day after Grunwald went missing. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Teen on trial for murder of David Grunwald recounts moments leading up to his death," 1 Oct. 2019 Arizona was torched by tight ends week after week last year. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals receive high marks for Isaiah Simmons pick in 2020 NFL draft," 23 Apr. 2020 By trashing the nuclear deal crafted by his predecessor, Barack Obama, Trump might have torched hopes for diplomacy for a generation. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "It's actually a good sign that a royal caper is eclipsing the US-Iran showdown," 9 Jan. 2020 The rookie wide receiver torched the Eagles by catching seven passes on nine targets for a franchise playoff single-game record 160 yards and a touchdown. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks win ugly over the Philadelphia Eagles in a Wild Card playoff: 10 studs and duds," 6 Jan. 2020 Running back Aaron Jones, who torched the Cowboys for four touchdowns, has improved his yards-per-carry average in Adams’ absence. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "NFL roundtable: Who's best team in loaded NFC field of contenders?," 16 Oct. 2019 Like Steve Young, who torched Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, Houston QB Watson is poised in the pocket yet also a deft scrambler and passer A San Diego connection to Week 3 of the NFL season, will make some locals grumpy. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Deshaun Watson recalls former Super Bowl MVP against San Diego Chargers," 23 Sep. 2019

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

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Torch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for torch


How to pronounce torch (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on torch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for torch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with torch

Spanish Central: Translation of torch

Nglish: Translation of torch for Spanish Speakers

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

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