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Alteration (due to association with burn) of Early Modern English boonfire, bondfire, bounfire (bonfire). More at bonfire.


burnfire (plural burnfires)

  1. Bonfire.
    • 1896, Harper's new monthly magazine: Volume 93:
      It may ha' been wicked, but there 'twas, an' the thought kep' arter me, till all I could think of was the chist; an' byme-by I says to Mary Ellen, one mornin', ' Le's open it to-day an' make a burnfire !'
    • 1887, New York (State). Secretary's Office, Frederick Cook, Journals of the military expedition of Major General John Sullivan:
      [] the town of Owegea was made a burnfire of to Grace our Meating [sic] our General Course from Tiago to Choconant []