• WordNet 3.6
    • n touchwood material for starting a fire
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Touchwood Dried fungi used as tinder; especially, the Polyporus igniarius.
    • Touchwood Wood so decayed as to serve for tinder; spunk, or punk.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n touchwood The soft white or yellowish substance into which wood is converted by the action of certain fungi: so called from its property of burning for many hours, when once ignited, like tinder. When the mycelium is in great abundance, it is sometimes observed to be luminous. The name touchwood is also applied to the fungus Polyporus igniarius. See spunk, 1, amadou, Polyporus.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Touchwood some soft combustible material, as amadou, used as tinder
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Probably for tachwood,; OE. tache, tinder (of uncertain origin) + wood,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. toucher—from Old High Ger. zucchen (Ger. zucken), to move, to draw.


In literature:

"The Double-Dealer" by William Congreve
I drew out my lens and touchwood, but alas!
"Thirty-Seven Days of Peril" by Truman Everts
Nod, too, lay down, ruffled with fire, burning like touchwood, amid the enchanted flowers.
"The Three Mulla-mulgars" by Walter De La Mare
That there flower-stand's painted up ter rights, but it's rotten as touchwood.
"Sir Hilton's Sin" by George Manville Fenn
It is in a piece of very {54} soft willow, almost in a touchwood condition.
"Wild Bees, Wasps and Ants" by Edward Saunders
Everyone of them 'as 'ad their brains cut out and chunks of rotten touchwood put in the place of it.
"The Wonderful Visit" by Herbert George Wells
Their watchword was "Derevaski daloi" (throw away your touchwood).
"The Green Book" by Mór Jókai
Cyril was not unlike touchwood at that moment, liable to go off at the slightest contact.
"Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles" by Mrs. Henry Wood
Perhaps Doubleday meant only that the touchwood thrown out came from Fawkes's pocket.
"What Gunpowder Plot Was" by Samuel Rawson Gardiner
First she gathered wreckwood and straw, and struck flint over touchwood and teened a fire.
"Twenty-Four Unusual Stories for Boys and Girls" by Anna Cogswell Tyler

In news:

Anthology Somebody's Child: Stories About Adoption (Touchwood) explores the complex emotional terrain of adoption .