I'm wondering what the name is for a piece of firewood which one half or piece is red hot burning and the other half is not and you can use the part that is not burning as handle to move it around or to hold it to light up cigarettes or to light up fireworks.

Can someone please tell me? This is a word I would like to add to my English vocabulary.

A little extra information: My native language is Spanish and I'm from El Salvador and here we call those things "tizon" but I can't find a translation for it since that particular word is Spanish slang and the real meaning of it is "smut" which is a disease for vegetables.

I would appreciate any help figuring this out.

7 Answers 7


a firebrand

  1. A piece of burning wood, especially one used as a torch or to ignite something.

Example sentence:

1962 C. M. Turnbull Forest People viii. 161 Two youths holding glowing firebrands in their hands.

(Oxford English Dictionary)

See also "31" other dictionaries (onelook search)

By the way, Word Reference translates firebrand as tizón as well as other words.

  • Thank you AlanCarmack I think firebrand is the one. Well that rhymed. Apr 20, 2016 at 4:55
  • you're welcome, @ManuelHernandez Apr 20, 2016 at 16:42
  • By the way, to me a brand is a whole piece of wood that is on fire or has been on fire. Apr 20, 2016 at 16:47
  • Oh, is that what a firebrand is? You know, I've never actually looked up the word in its original/literal sense.
    – Soron
    Apr 21, 2016 at 14:15

"Brand" will do.

As in "He grabbed a brand from the fire and thrust into the face of the undead.."

In fact it is an interesting one. Historically speaking "brand" means burning Oxford Dictionaries : Brand from the Old English brand 'burning' related to German "Brand".

From here you get a Brand of wood from a fire, then to Branding Iron, then to the mark made by a Branding Iron - a Brand, from there to a mark in general - in particular a trade mark or a Brand.

I am glad you made me look that one up.


I'd go with just "brand" for the situation you describe but an alternative I've seen used is "ember". That's a small piece of glowing wood or coal that would have to be picked up with tongs.

  • Thanks for teaching me the word "ember" I really appreciate your time. Apr 20, 2016 at 14:09
  • ember is just the red glowing part, though
    – njzk2
    Apr 20, 2016 at 14:29
  • 2
    Normally the whole ember would be glowing. If you're holding an ember in your bare hand, I would expect your hand to get burnt.
    – DCShannon
    Apr 20, 2016 at 14:46

I think where you are using English may well make a difference in what word you'd choose.

As an American English speaker, I've never heard the word "brand" refer to what I'd most likely call an ember or coal depending on how brightly it was burning (ember would be burning brightly, coal not so much).

While I know what a firebrand is, I've also never heard it used in the same context. I'm not even sure I've ever heard anyone speak the word, only read it in books.

I suspect some of the other answers may have come from folks who originated somewhere other than in the US, like Australia, New Zealand, Britain, etc.

  • An ember is the brightly burning piece of wood. A cinder is an ember that is no longer burning, cool and blackened. Coals are the mixture of embers and cinders, primarily embers, that exist at the bottom of a fire.
    – EllieK
    Jul 25, 2016 at 15:00

As long as you're using the burning wood to move around other burning wood, you could call it a "poker". This would seem more common to me than "brand" or "firebrand", although those make sense for other uses.

Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com both have pretty much the same definition:

a metal rod for poking or stirring a fire.

I don't think there's any reason to think a poker needs to be metal, but manufactured ones generally are.

Urban Dictionary says:

some thing for a fire to poke the fire wood

  • "Poker" or a related term is what I would most immediately recognize as being a fire-stirring utensil (but NOT for lighting other things on fire). e.g., "wooden poker", to indicate that it's not made of the traditional metal. For lighting other things on fire, you'd need to use a different word, such as "firebrand". +1 for providing both.
    – Soron
    Apr 21, 2016 at 14:18

Firebrand is technically correct, but in the U.S., at least, you're more likely to hear that word used in the metaphorical sense of an activist who riles people up to promote a cause.

A small piece of smoldering wood, coated with manure or sawdust, and used to light fireworks is called a punk.

  • I think this word punk is another possible option when choosing a word for that thingy. Apr 21, 2016 at 16:02

You are referring to a:

  1. torch, specifically, a fire torch; or

  2. matchstick.

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  • 1
    I'm referring to a big piece of firewood not matches. Lets say you making a fire with firewood of course and once the wood is on fire you grab a piece of wood by the one end that is not on the fire and stick it out of the fire and you have one end that you can use as handle and the other that is red hot by there you can light anything you want. More like a wood torch but with out fire just the red hot as in hotcoal. Apr 20, 2016 at 4:29
  • You mean a smouldering wood?
    – shin
    Apr 20, 2016 at 4:47

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