Originally, a torch was a portable source of fire used as a source of light, usually a rod-shaped piece of wood with a rag soaked in pitch and/or some other flammable material wrapped around one end. Torches were often supported in sconces by brackets high up on walls, to throw light over corridors in stone structures such as castles or crypts.

A torch carried in relay by cross-country runners is used to light the Olympic flame which burns without interruption until the following Olympics. These torches and relay tradition were introduced in 1936 Summer Olympics by Carl Diem, chairman of the event because during the duration of the Ancient Olympic Games in Olympia, a sacred flame burns inside of the temple of Hera, kept in custody by her priestess.

If a torch is made of sulfur mixed with lime, the fire will not diminish after being plunged into water. Such torches were used by the ancient Romans.

Juggling torches are often used as a prop in toss juggling: they can be flipped into the air in an end-over-end motion while being juggled, in the same manner as juggling clubs or juggling knives, but because of their sound and 'trail of flame', they can appear much more impressive to audiences. To a skilled juggler, there is only a slight chance of being burned, but they are still dangerous.


The torch is a common emblem of both enlightenment and hope. Thus the Statue of Liberty, actually "Liberty Enlightening the World", lifts her torch. Crossed reversed torches were signs of mourning that appear on Greek and Roman funerary monuments--a torch pointed downwards symbolizes death, while a torch held up symbolizes life, truth and the regenerative power of flame. The torch is also a symbol used by political parties such as the British Conservative Party and the Malta Labour Party.

Uses in the Roman Catholic liturgy

In former times, liturgical torches were carried in Eucharistic processions simply to give light. The Church eventually adopted their use for Solemn High Masses.

According to Adrian Fortescue ("The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy [1912] "), the more correct form of liturgical torches are non-freestanding (i.e. cannot stand up on their own). However, today, even in the Vatican, freestanding, tall candles in ornate candle-stick holders have replaced the former type. The torches are carried by torchbearers, who enter at the Sanctus and leave after Communion.

Anglicans of the High Church and some Lutherans use torches in some of their liturgical celebrations as well.

Blowtorches and similar

In construction usage, a torch is a small hand-held burner which makes a hot flame, usually fueled by oxygen and either acetylene or propane, that is used for either cutting or welding metals, particularly iron and steel. For example, blowtorch, cutting torch, or welding torch. For more information, see gas welding.

ee also

* List of light sources

External links

* [ of non-freestanding torches] Antique Liturgical Torches in Procession
* [ of non-freestanding torches] Antique Liturgical Torches in Procession

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Torch (MC) — Torch (engl.: Fackel; auch Torchmann, Torchkinski, MC Torch oder DJ Haitian Star), (* 29. September 1971), mit bürgerlichem Namen Frederik Hahn, war der erste deutsche MC, der Mitte der 1980er Jahre in Heidelberg mit dem deutschen Sprechgesang… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • TORCH — (englisch ‚Fackel‘, im britischen Englisch auch ‚Taschenlampe‘) bezeichnet: Torch (Rapper) (bürgerlich Frederik Hahn; * 1971), deutscher Hip Hop Musiker Torch (Band), schwedische Hardrock Band Operation Torch, anglo amerikanische Invasion nach… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • torch — ► NOUN 1) Brit. a portable battery powered electric lamp. 2) chiefly historical a piece of wood or cloth soaked in tallow and ignited. 3) something valuable which needs to be protected and maintained: the torch of freedom. 4) chiefly N. Amer. a… …   English terms dictionary

  • Torch — (t[^o]rch), n. [OE. torche, F. torche a torch, rag, wisp, pad; probably from a derivative of L. torquere, tortum, to twist, because twisted like a rope; cf. F. torcher to rub, wipe, It. topcia a torch, torciare to wrap, twist, OF. torse a torse.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Torch — (englisch ‚Fackel‘, im britischen Englisch auch ‚Taschenlampe‘) bezeichnet: Torch (Rapper) (bürgerlich Frederik Hahn; * 1971), deutscher Hip Hop Musiker Torch (Band), schwedische Hardrock Band Operation Torch, anglo amerikanische Invasion nach… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • torch — [tôrch] n. [ME < OFr torche < VL * torca, twisted object, for L torqua < torquere, to twist: see TORSION] 1. a portable light consisting of a long piece of resinous wood, or twisted tow dipped in tallow, etc., flaming at one end; link;… …   English World dictionary

  • Torch — Torch, 2004 Torch (aussi appelé Torchmann, Torchkinski, MC Torch ou bien [1]DJ Haitian Star), né le 29 septembre 1971, de son vrai nom Frederik Hahn, est le premier MC allemand à avoir écrit des textes dans sa langue maternelle. Il débute dans le …   Wikipédia en Français

  • torch|y — «TR chee», adjective, torch|i|er, tch|i|est. of, having to do with, or characteristic of a torch song or a torch singer: »Pop tunes of a torchy temper, sung with a fine ear for theatrical effect (Time) …   Useful english dictionary

  • TORCH — iniciales de Toxoplasmosis, Otras infecciones, Rubeola, Citomegalovirus y Herpes simplex. Un síndrome que se observa a veces en el feto o neonato Diccionario ilustrado de Términos Médicos.. Alvaro Galiano …   Diccionario médico

  • torch — torch; torch·man; torch·er; …   English syllables

  • torch — {{Roman}}I.{{/Roman}} noun 1 (BrE) electric light ⇨ See also ↑flashlight ADJECTIVE ▪ powerful ▪ electric VERB + TORCH ▪ carry, have …   Collocations dictionary

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