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EtymologyEdit

rush +‎ light

NounEdit

rushlight (plural rushlights)

  1. (historical) A type of inexpensive candle formed by soaking the dried pith of the rush plant in fat or grease, which emits light for a relatively short period of time.
    • 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, “Crawley of Queen’s Crawley”, in Vanity Fair. A Novel without a Hero, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1848, OCLC 3174108, page 61:
      After supper Sir Pitt Crawley began to smoke his pipe; and when it became quite dark, he lighted the rushlight in the tin candlestick, and producing from an interminable pocket a huge mass of papers, began reading them, and putting them in order.
    • 1861, Charles Dickens, Great Expectations[1]:
      As I had asked for a night-light, the chamberlain had brought me in, before he left me, the good old constitutional rushlight of those virtuous days.
    • 1901, Evelyn Everett-Green, In the Wars of the Roses[2]:
      The nights were almost at their longest now, and the cold was very great; but the watchers piled fresh logs upon the fire, and talked quietly to each other as they sat in the dancing glow--for the rushlight had long since gone out.