Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#32372 - 06/14/01 08:50 PM Fire sizes  
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 544
Hyla Offline
addict
Hyla  Offline
addict

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 544
San Francisco, CA
Today I came across the word "deflagration" - (noun form, naturally, of deflagrate - To burn or cause to burn with great heat and intense light - AHD). This prompted me to look up conflagration (A large destructive fire).

So - which one's bigger? I've always thought of conflagration as about as big as a fire can get, but perhaps I've just never come across a deflagration.

Does anyone actually use deflagration (I came across it in a fairly technical sense)? Is a deflagration not necessarily destructive, but a conflagration is, by definition?

Also noted that deflagrate exists, in both transitive and intransitive senses, but conflagrate seems to have burnt itself out over time.


#32373 - 06/14/01 08:53 PM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Faldage  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 13,803
From the definition it sounds like deflagration is more about intensity than size.


#32374 - 06/14/01 08:59 PM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel
tsuwm  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
OED2 gives it as a Physics term, more in use in the 18th and 19th Cs.

1. trans. To cause to burn away with sudden evolution of flame and rapid, sharp combustion (e.g. a mixture of charcoal and nitre thrown into a red-hot crucible).
1727 Bailey vol. II, Deflagrate, to inkindle and burn off in a Crucible a Mixture of Salt or some mineral Body with a Sulphureous one. 1794 J. Hutton Philos. Light, etc. 208 When coal is deflagrated with nitre. 1876 S. Kens. Mus. Catal. No. 1369 The spark from this battery deflagrates a platinum wire a foot long.

2. intr. To burst into flame and burn away rapidly.



#32375 - 06/14/01 09:24 PM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wwh  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
It is not a question of size, but of time. A whole bunch of sites made it clear that deflagration refers to the initiation of burning. Conflagration is the late stage when the burning process is going to completion.


#32376 - 06/14/01 11:06 PM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,439
wow Offline
Carpal Tunnel
wow  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,439
New England, USA
deflagration > To cause to burn away with sudden evolution of flame and rapid, sharp combustion

Like magician's flash paper?



#32377 - 06/14/01 11:11 PM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 4,189
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel
WhitmanO'Neill  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 4,189
Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
Condeflagration?...as the larger consumes the smaller?


#32378 - 06/16/01 06:07 PM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,814
Alex Williams Offline
Pooh-Bah
Alex Williams  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,814
Spam Factory
I always thought of conflagration as having the connotation of a very large fire, such as an entire city on fire. See also "firestorm."


#32379 - 06/18/01 08:40 AM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
old hand

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
Switzerland
Most chemists are secret pyromaniacs, so the term deflagration is very familiar to me: it is a manner of burning which is just below an explosion in its intensity. It does not cause a shot noise, but rather a "swishing" noise. This is generally brought about by an oxydizing agent which is mixed with the combustible material, as mentioned in the example "nitre" plus charcoal. If the same mixture is enclosed in a shell and ignited, it causes an explosion.


#32380 - 06/18/01 05:13 PM Re: Fire sizes  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 427
Marianna Offline
addict
Marianna  Offline
addict

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 427
Spain
I would understand a deflagration to be the initial stage, and possibly the origin, of a very large fire... something like an explosion. And, for me, a conflagration would be the large fire burning in a somewhat continuous way, until controlled.

Marianna



Moderated by  Jackie 

Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,877
Posts223,488
Members9,001
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
JdawgGaming, Hiteshi, JaneJane, Baldilocks, BookVenturePress
9001 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 44 guests, and 3 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters(All Time)
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,538
LukeJavan8 8,847
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.015s Queries: 13 (0.003s) Memory: 2.7081 MB (Peak: 2.8356 MB) Zlib disabled. Server Time: 2017-04-29 13:19:33 UTC