origin of ‘bonfire’: a fire in which bones were burnt

  a Fifth of November bonfire in Hastings – photograph: VisitEngland     In A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), the English lexicographer Samuel Johnson (1709-84) thus defined bonfire: [from bon, good, French, and fire.] A fire made for some publick cause of triumph or exultation. In support of this etymology, bonfire in several languages is, literally, fire of joy. For […]

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