• WordNet 3.6
    • n Pyrophorus tropical click beetles
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Pyrophorus (Old Chem) Any one of several substances or mixtures which phosphoresce or ignite spontaneously on exposure to air, as a heated mixture of alum, potash, and charcoal, or a mixture of charcoal and finely divided lead.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n pyrophorus A substance which takes fire on exposure to air. Many metals (iron, lead, etc.), when exposed to the air in a very finely divided condition, combine so rapidly with oxygen as to cause an evolution of light.
    • n pyrophorus [capitalized] A notable genus of elaterid beetles, comprising nearly a hundred species, confined to tropical and subtropical America, and containing the most brilliant forms of luminous insects. The light is given out from two oval spots in the pronotum near each basal angle, and from a point beneath, between the thorax and the abdomen. These beetles fly in a nearly direct line, and the light is more intense and sustained than that of the Lampyridæ. In many countries of tropical America they are used as toilet ornaments and form an article of trade. P. noctilvcus is alarge West Indian species, often brought alive to the United States. See also cut under antenna.
    • n pyrophorus [capitalized] A genus of arachnidans.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Pyrophorus pī-rof′ō-rus a substance which takes fire on exposure to air: a genus of elaterid beetles
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
NL. See Pyrophorous
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. pyr, fire, pherein, to carry.


In literature:

KOeLLIKER, A. V.: 1859, Ueber die Leuchtorgane der amerikanischen Pyrophorus-Arten.
"The Nature of Animal Light" by E. Newton Harvey
Nitrous air is decomposed by pyrophorus, and by agitation in olive oil, which becomes coagulated by the process.
"Heads of Lectures on a Course of Experimental Philosophy: Particularly Including Chemistry" by Joseph Priestley