One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A flaming torch, especially one made of several thick wicks dipped in wax.
lamp, light, flashlight, beaconView synonyms
- ‘There, he relates how ‘I took from their sconces two flambeaux [torches], and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults.’’
- ‘At night, parades feature flambeaux (burning torches) carried by figures in white robes.’
- 1.1 A large candlestick with several branches.
- ‘This piece stands in its original shape except for the replacement of the flambeau.’
- ‘We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.’
- ‘‘You had never been more correct, my friend,’ Ked said as they half-ran to the landing, noticing the lighted flambeaux on their way.’
- ‘There were no streetlights on this side of town; only the occasional privately maintained flambeaux outside some gambling den or brothel broke the dark.’
- ‘The Betrayal of Christ (National Gallery, Dublin) is set in darkness tumultuous with the flicker of flambeaux on steel.’
Mid 17th century: from French, from flambe ‘a flame’.
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