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Etymology 1[edit]

From Anglo-Norman and Old French arson, from the verb ardoir, from Latin ardeō (to burn). Compare ardent.


arson (usually uncountable, plural arsons)

  1. The crime of deliberately starting a fire with intent to cause damage.
    • 2006, Paul Chadwick, Concrete: Killer Smile, Part two, p.34:
      Arson, like we thought. three punks doused a car, lit it, and took off.
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]


arson (third-person singular simple present arsons, present participle arsoning, simple past and past participle arsoned)

  1. (transitive, chiefly India) To illegally set fire to; to burn down in a criminal manner.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English arsoun, from Old French arçon, from Vulgar Latin *arciō (saddlebow), from Latin arcus (bow); compare Italian arcione, Portuguese arção, and Spanish arzón.


arson (plural arsons)

  1. (obsolete) A saddlebow.
    • 1550, Edward Halle, “The xij. yere of King Henry the viij.”, in The Vnion of the Two Noble and Illuſtre Famelies of Lancaſtre and Yoꝛke[1], folio 78, recto:
      The kyng of Englande mounted on a freſhe courſer, the trapper of clothe of golde, of Tiſſue, the Arſon mantell wiſe []
    • 1598, John Florio, “Arcione”, in A Worlde of Words, or Most Copious, and Exact Dictionarie in Italian and English, [], London: [] Arnold Hatfield for Edw[ard] Blount, →OCLC, page 25, column 1:
      Arcione, the arſon or ſaddle bowe.
    • 1634, Matheo Aleman, “Wherein Guzman de Alfarache relateth the Story of thoſe two Louers, Ozmin and Daraxa”, in Don Diego Puede-Ser, transl., The rogue: or The life of Guzman de Alfarache[2], volume 1, pages 68–69:
      [] And putting vp good ſtore of gold and Iewels for that iourney, and taking with him a good horſe, that was browne Bay, with a Petronell hanging at the arſon of his Saddle []


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of arsoun

Middle French[edit]


From Old French arçon.


arson m (plural arsons)

  1. saddle

Old French[edit]


From the verb ardre, ardoir, from Latin ardeō.


arson oblique singularm (oblique plural arsons, nominative singular arsons, nominative plural arson)

  1. burning; fire
  2. arson
  3. sunburn
  4. burn (on the skin, etc.)