November 17th, 2011

words are sexy


locofoco (loh-koh-FOH-koh) - n., a type of friction match; a self-lighting cigar of the mid-19th century.

The matches, also called lucifer matches, are no longer available because the phosphorus compound that went into the match-head was not the most stable compound ever -- modern safety matches are much more, well, safe. The cigars ditto. In American politics, the name was applied to a political faction of the 1830s that had their lighting cut off during a meeting, which they continued using matches. The name comes from the cigar, which was apparently developed and named in Italy, from loco(motive), with a sense of self-moving + fuoco, fire, from Latin focus, hearth.

He paused in his tirade of advice to light a pipe with a locofoco.