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13thc., from a- (on) +‎ fire. Figurative usage from late 14thc.[1]


  • IPA(key): /əˈfaɪɚ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪə(ɹ)


afire (comparative more afire, superlative most afire)

  1. On fire (often metaphorically).


afire (comparative more afire, superlative most afire)

  1. On fire (often metaphorically).


  • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], page 3:
    Ariell: [] all but Mariners / Plung'd in the foaming bryne, and quit the veſſell ; / Then all a fire with me the Kings ſonne Ferdinand / With haire vp-ſtaring (then like reeds, not haire) / Was the firſt man that leapt ; cride hell is empty, / And all the Diuels are heere.
  • 1856, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, New York: C.S. Francis & Co., 1857, Seventh Book, p. 275[1]:
    [] Earth’s crammed with heaven, / And every common bush afire with God:
  • 1922, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Chessmen of Mars[2], HTML edition, The Gutenberg Project, published 2010:
    … if I were a young man I should doubtless be willing to set all Barsoom afire to win you, …
  • 1931, Nacio Herb Brown and Gordon Clifford, “Paradise” (song first sung by Pola Negri and later covered by Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra):
    Her eyes afire / With one desire. / Then a heavenly kiss: / Could I resist?
  • 1950, Mervyn Peake, chapter 63, in Gormenghast, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode:
    Old claw-like hands, cracked with long years of thankless toil, would hold aloft a delicate bird of wood, its wings, as thin as paper, spread for flight, its breast afire with a crimson stain.


Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024), “afire”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.





  1. inflection of aferir:
    1. third-person singular present indicative
    2. second-person singular imperative