Word of the Day

Guy Fawkes’ Night

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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


in the UK, the evening of 5th November, when people light fires outside and have fireworks

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

Guy Fawkes’ Night is named for the conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot who was apprehended on 5th November while guarding the explosives with which the plotters intended to blow up Parliament. The term dates from the early part of the 19th century.


Guy Fawkes’ Night is also known as Bonfire Night and you can read about its origins in the Word Story at that entry. We have written previously on the blog about bonfires, fireworks and guys; you can read the posts by clicking on the links. Bonfires are not confined to the UK, of course; in Brazil they are lit in June, and you can read about that here. Finally, this entertaining post from Jeremy Bale looks at some of the other language and traditions associated with Guy Fawkes’ Night.


A desperate disease requires a dangerous remedy.
(attributed to Guy Fawkes, quoting Hippocrates)

“Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.


Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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