balefire vs bonfire what difference

what is difference between balefire and bonfire



From Middle English bale-fyre, from Old English bǣlfȳr (balefire, funeral or sacrificial fire); equivalent to bale (Etymology 2) +‎ fire.


balefire (plural balefires)

  1. An outdoor fire used in witches’ rituals.

Related terms

  • bale
  • fire

See also

  • bonfire
  • pyre



  • afebrile, fireable


Alternative forms

  • burnfire
  • bone-fire (obsolete)


From Middle English bonnefyre, banefyre (a fire in which bones are burnt); equivalent to bone +‎ fire, with the first element perhaps later assimilating to French bon. Cognate with Scots banefire (bonfire).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbɒn.ˌfaɪ.ə(ɹ)/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbɔn.ˌfaɪ.ɚ/, /ˈbɑn.ˌfaɪ.ɚ/


bonfire (plural bonfires)

  1. A large, controlled outdoor fire, as a signal or to celebrate something.
  2. A fire to burn unwanted items, such as agricultural waste or proscribed books, or (historical) heretics or other offenders.
  3. (obsolete) A fire in which bones are burned.

Derived terms

  • Bonfire Night



See also

  • balefire
  • bale


bonfire (third-person singular simple present bonfires, present participle bonfiring, simple past and past participle bonfired)

  1. To fire (pottery) using a bonfire.
    • 2000, Moira Vincentelli, Women and Ceramics: Gendered Vessels, Manchester University Press (→ISBN), page 42:
      Most women’s traditions involve open firing such as bonfiring, pitfiring, or a fire surrounded by a low wall. More unusually, in Cyprus, Colombia and the Canaries individual potters have their own kilns.
    • 2004, Moira Vincentelli, Women Potters: Transforming Traditions, Rutgers University Press (→ISBN), page 212:
      Bonfiring has a very direct contact between the pottery and the flame. Firing time is usually quite short and the pots are carefully supervised through the process. Bonfiring, in general, does not create the same amount of wasters as kiln firing …
    • 2018, Kerstin Pinther, Alexandra Weigand, Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow: Design Histories between Africa and Europe, transcript Verlag (→ISBN), page 102:
      [] while open bonfiring was practiced mainly by women and universally used in African traditions where it has a very low failure rate. It has been characterized as technically simple though in fact it requires a hyper refined combination of specific clay body, fuel, firing technique and atmospheric conditions – formulas derived from local experimentation mainly by generations of women.
  2. To make, or celebrate around, a bonfire.
    • 2014, Joan Rust, Anniecat Chronicles, Xlibris Corporation (→ISBN), page 131:
      [] are all bar-b-quing, swimming, jetskiing, bonfiring, and the next thing you know everyone is gone, leaving the house empty []
    • 2016, Alexandra Sirowy, The Telling (→ISBN), cover summary:
      She could only dream about bonfiring with the populars.


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