Definition of bonfire in US English:

bonfire

noun

  • A large open-air fire used as part of a celebration, for burning trash, or as a signal.

    • ‘She added that the annual Halloween celebrations will see bonfires on the area, only making things worse than they already are.’
    • ‘Asked to dispose of it, he quietly burnt it on a bonfire in his back garden in Cheshire, the court heard.’
    • ‘Last week, I got up at three in the morning, lit a bonfire in my garden, and started fixing the grass.’
    • ‘The embers from the dying bonfires still burned, casting ghostly shadows over the ground.’
    • ‘But it must also go up to acknowledge that, at that very moment, bonfires of celebration are being lit from one end of the land to the other.’
    • ‘We ask people to be aware of the litter laws and not dump any type of rubbish for the bonfires on the greens.’
    • ‘Firefighters are warning that bonfires can become infernos in the current spell of hot weather.’
    • ‘The burning of life-sized effigies of Guy Fawkes on bonfires is a relatively new custom.’
    • ‘It was celebrated with bonfires, parades and people dressing up as saints, angels and devils.’
    • ‘Across in Biggar, the bonfire celebrations date back to the pagan times when fire was worshipped.’
    • ‘The bonfire of burning bras has finally died down and we should admit effeminacy is killing the arts.’
    • ‘I was also familiar with bonfires and trash fires, and with the intense heat which they produced.’
    • ‘A warning has gone out to people thinking of having bonfires in their gardens after a fire went out of control.’
    • ‘There are often bonfires in the back garden of that house.’
    • ‘The pair had been setting off fireworks, lighting fires and throwing aerosol cans onto a bonfire.’
    • ‘The fire is believed to have been caused by a bonfire which got out of control.’
    • ‘Of course, the smoke did not affect their own houses because the bonfire was at the bottom of their gardens.’
    • ‘Celebrations went on late into the night with bonfires blazing around the deputy's home village of Ardfert.’
    • ‘Warnings have also been issued in relation to fire hazards caused by Hallowe'en bonfires.’
    • ‘Potentially dangerous bonfires will also be removed in the run-up to November 5.’
    warning fire, warning light, signal fire, signal light, smoke signal, beam, signal, danger signal, guiding light
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: from bone + fire. The term originally denoted a large open-air fire on which bones were burnt (sometimes as part of a celebration), also one for burning heretics or proscribed literature. Dr Johnson accepted the mistaken idea that the word came from French bon ‘good’.

Pronunciation

bonfire

/ˈbɑnˌfaɪ(ə)r//ˈbänˌfī(ə)r/