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A wildfire
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Wild + fire. In the Middle Ages, the term referred to Greek fire.


wildfire (countable and uncountable, plural wildfires)

  1. A rapidly spreading fire, especially one occurring in a wildland area.
  2. (historical) Greek fire, Byzantine fire.
  3. A spreading disease of the skin, particularly erysipelas.
  4. (figuratively) Something that acts quickly and uncontrollably.
    • 2015 January 18, Monty Munford, “What’s the point of carrying a mobile phone nowadays?”, in The Daily Telegraph[1]:
      So, it appears a revolution has happened and a very unexpected one. Of course it was only a matter of time before it happened. With WiFi connectivity spreading faster than wildfire and a laptop or tablet in one’s bag, what’s the point of a mobile nowadays?


  • 1622, Thomas Dekker and Philip Massinger, The Virgin Martyr
    The.     Do not blow,
    The Furnace of a wrath thrice hot already;
    Ætna is in my brest, wildfire burns here,
    Which onely bloud must quench ...
  • 1715, Floyer, Edward Baynard, Psychrolousia. Or, the History of Cold Bathing: Both Ancient and Modern
    Where are [...] the Aunts that do as much for their Nieces, and make them caper and sparkle like Wildfire?
  • 1715, Francisco de Quevedo, The Visions of Dom Francisco de Quevedo
    I slept very disturbedly, and had a quick high towring Pulse; had strange Flashes in my Blood, like Wild-fire, which I could perceive in my Face, Neck, Breast, and extream Parts.


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See also[edit]


  • 1862, Martim de Albuquerque, Notes and Queries.
  • “Greek Fire”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[2], Classic Encyclopedia, 30 October 2006, retrieved 2008-12-23