Definition of conflagration in US English:



  • An extensive fire which destroys a great deal of land or property.

    • ‘That spot caught fire and the conflagration that resulted caused major damage to the building.’
    • ‘I may not have mentioned my pyromaniac tendencies before, but one thing leads to another and so soon we had built not so much a bonfire as a conflagration.’
    • ‘But the scale of the conflagrations over the past few years can only lead us to conclude that they are the consequence of environmental recklessness and bad management.’
    • ‘These companies encouraged positive precautions to prevent fires by the design and construction of buildings, and to deal rapidly with conflagrations.’
    • ‘Fire - in coronas, pillars or volcanic conflagrations - appears often, adding to the feeling of nature about to run amok.’
    • ‘They feared that a conflagration would quickly follow, devouring cities and killing millions.’
    • ‘While the fire is still burning, fire crews attending the scene have brought the conflagration under control.’
    • ‘I trust this was done, as I myself observed the licking flames of the conflagration.’
    • ‘That fire can become a huge conflagration, or it can be quickly put out.’
    • ‘Finally, what all this goes to demonstrate is that the values and objectives that the United States and Europe share are far more important than any of the inevitable divides that emerge from periodic conflagrations.’
    • ‘But, filled with misplaced bravado, I decided this was the right time for a proper conflagration.’
    • ‘The kitchen shop on the high street went up in flames and so great was the conflagration that the entire building collapsed.’
    • ‘Fire suppression builds up an unnatural accumulation of fuel that creates conflagrations far more implacable and catastrophic than nature's fire.’
    • ‘In the divine realm, fire symbolizes the universal conflagration of the apocalypse which will destroy men's sinful bodies.’
    • ‘He discusses the replacement of gentle landscape fires ignited by Aboriginal clans during tropical Australia's cool months with more intense and destructive summer conflagrations.’
    • ‘In doing so, he could be sure that the reference would invoke a powerful image, because theaters were notoriously fire prone and had, over the years, produced some spectacular conflagrations.’
    • ‘Outstanding Italian humanists of that epoch visited Byzantium in order to learn Greek and to buy old manuscripts, saved from pillages, conflagrations, and devastation of the invaded country.’
    • ‘We could riddle our last ancient forests with logging roads and clearcuts, setting the stage for tomorrow's conflagrations, or we can restore natural fires to natural forests.’
    • ‘Some scientists argue about whether these conflagrations are really any bigger than the ones that came before, but nobody disputes the idea that controlled burning and brush clearing can reduce the likelihood of wildfire.’
    • ‘Safety-conscious fire departments across the country are changing their policies, and will no longer risk firefighter lives to protect mere property in these conflagrations.’
    fire, blaze, flames, inferno, firestorm, holocaust
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Late 15th century (denoting consumption by fire): from Latin conflagratio(n-), from the verb conflagrare, from con- (expressing intensive force) + flagrare ‘to blaze’.