touch » torch

Chiefly in:   torch paper

Classification: English – /r/-dropping

Spotted in the wild:

  • Was it really ‘outside agitators’ who sparked the trouble? Or once the torch paper was lit, did Muslim youth exploit the opportunity to exact retribution on ancient Hindu rivals? (Red Action Bulletin, July/Aug. 2001)
  • Laws lights the torch paper …
    “We have got to go at them from the start, when we kick off on Wednesday evening the torch paper will be lit.” (, May 11, 2003)
  • Contrary to what many scientists such as Stephen Hawking seem to suppose, the role of the Creator is not to light the blue torch paper of the big bang and then retire, but continuously to hold the world in being. (Canyon Institute Newsletter, Fall 2003)
  • But it was his willingness to run back a kick by Paul Grayson, take on Jason Robinson on the outside and offload to the supporting Tyrone Howe which lit the torch paper for Ireland to cut loose in the third quarter. (Irish Times, Mar. 9, 2004)
  • Ronald Reagan’s legacy in Asia is most visible today on the Afghan-Pakistan frontier, where his drive to end the Cold War climaxed with the CIA-backed humiliation of the Soviets in Afghanistan but lit the torch-paper of radical Islam that spawned Al-Qaeda. (News24, South Africa, June 7, 2004)

Analyzed or reported by:

_Touch paper_ refers to a kind of paper soaked in potassium nitrate that was once commonly used in the UK as a fuse for fireworks. It lives on in the metaphorical expression _light the (blue) touch paper_.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/16 |

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