One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Chemistry. A substance capable (especially in a finely divided state) of igniting spontaneously on exposure to air. Now historical.
2Entomology. In form Pyrophorus. A genus of strongly luminescent fireflies of the family Elateridae, found mainly in neotropical America.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From post-classical Latin pyrophorus or its etymon ancient Greek πυροϕόρος bearer of sacrificial fire from πυρο- + -ϕόρος.
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