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Tonight is bonfire night, that means the skies tonight across Britain will be illuminated, playing host to a wide array of wails, cackles and screeches to the accompaniment of thunderous booms, snaps and bangs. I’m not really selling it am I?

For the pyromaniacs out there, the fifth of November is always spectacle to behold, with displays becoming increasingly impressive every year.

Extravagant pyrotechnics aside, there are a handful of other traditions associated with bonfire night: the burning of Guy Fawkes effigies upon the bonfires themselves, toffee apples (a delicious favourite of mine) and of course, sparklers; which allow us to embrace our inner Prometheus, at arm’s length, of course. The crowd turnout at a bonfire night is almost always good, and I can’t help but feel a strange (but welcome) kind of ‘togetherness’ that only really happens on this night.

This week’s Word for Wednesday is not a word but the prefix ‘pyro-’.

Pyro- comes from Greek and according to Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English lexicon, is rarely used as an image of warmth and comfort. Indeed, one of the five infernal rivers of Hell in Greek mythology was named Pyriphlegethon.

Does this add a hellish twist to the words with the prefix pyro, are there more menacing implications? After all, the night we’re celebrating wasn’t exactly a jolly one…

05 Nov 2014
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Teacher, High School, UK