inferno/blaze

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tati-tatoo

Senior Member
French - France
Hi!
I'd like to ask English natives if there is any difference between inferno and blaze when talking about a fire? (i.e. regional, use, etc.)
In my context it refers to the Notre-Dame disaster and I was wondering if I can use both.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The words create different images. But news-writers and script-writers like to use many different words when they can, so any story about a fire will use all these and every other word.

    Usually an "inferno" is a super-hot place. For example, when a large building burns, there may be areas that no fire-fighter will enter (even to rescue someone). It is simply too hot, no matter what the fire-fighter is wearing. In a dramatic movie, the hero will shout, "Get back! No-one can survive in that inferno!"

    A "blaze" is just a healthy fire with clearly visible flames. You can create a "blaze" (a "blazing fire") in the fireplace of your house. When the flames are large, it is a blaze; the fire is "ablaze". Later the flames "die down" but the fire is just as hot.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Dojibear has given a good idea of the difference between the two words. As he says, 'inferno' is much more dramatic.

    Please give us an idea of what sort of writing you have in mind as well as sentence in which you might use one of these words. It will help people give you advice that suits your context. (And the forum requires a sample sentence whenever you ask about a word or phrase.)
     

    tati-tatoo

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Dojibear has given a good idea of the difference between the two words. As he says, 'inferno' is much more dramatic.

    Please give us an idea of what sort of writing you have in mind as well as sentence in which you might use one of these words. It will help people give you advice that suits your context. (And the forum requires a sample sentence whenever you ask about a word or phrase.)
    "inferno" is perfect in my context as my text talks about the intervention of the firefighter robot "Colossus" to help firemen understand how the fire was progressing inside Notre-Dame, where they could not access or where it could be too dangerous for them.

    (I didn't know the word "Inferno" and it is "funny" because inferno means "hell" in Italian. So in substance, Colossus was going to hell...)
     

    tati-tatoo

    Senior Member
    French - France
    The words create different images. But news-writers and script-writers like to use many different words when they can, so any story about a fire will use all these and every other word.

    Usually an "inferno" is a super-hot place. For example, when a large building burns, there may be areas that no fire-fighter will enter (even to rescue someone). It is simply too hot, no matter what the fire-fighter is wearing. In a dramatic movie, the hero will shout, "Get back! No-one can survive in that inferno!"

    A "blaze" is just a healthy fire with clearly visible flames. You can create a "blaze" (a "blazing fire") in the fireplace of your house. When the flames are large, it is a blaze; the fire is "ablaze". Later the flames "die down" but the fire is just as hot.
    :tick::thumbsup: Thanks a lot
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    (I didn't know the word "Inferno" and it is "funny" because inferno means "hell" in Italian. So in substance, Colossus was going to hell...)
    Most Americans have heard of "Dante's Inferno", the famous medieval Italian epic poem about hell. So they know that "Inferno" means "hell", and that image appears sometimes in advertising.

    "Inferno" was used in English as early as 1834 to mean "hell". It only has been used since 1928 to mean "a large, raging fire".
     

    tati-tatoo

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Most Americans have heard of "Dante's Inferno", the famous medieval Italian epic poem about hell. So they know that "Inferno" means "hell", and that image appears sometimes in advertising.

    "Inferno" was used in English as early as 1834 to mean "hell". It only has been used since 1928 to mean "a large, raging fire".
    Thanks for this explanation. It is really interesting to know the origin of foreign words in a language. Do you know if it is common in GB as well?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    It is 7 am now in the UK, so our BE contributors will see this a little later.

    I don't attempt to speak BE. I stick to simpler languages like French and Chinese...:D
     

    tati-tatoo

    Senior Member
    French - France
    It is 7 am now in the UK, so our BE contributors will see this a little later.

    I don't attempt to speak BE. I stick to simpler languages like French and Chinese...:D
    Yep, let's see if any GB reader confirms that they use it... Thanks again for your help
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yep, let's see if any GB reader confirms that they use it... Thanks again for your help
    Indeed we do, yes. :)

    From the first Oxford Dictionaries definition: A large fire that is dangerously out of control. I wouldn't personally use it in the context of the Norre Dame blaze, which, as I understand it, was thankfully brought under control in time to save the majority of the structure.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's the kind of term you hear on the news whenever there's a big fire. I do not personally use it. It sounds too dramatic. (We've often had forest fires near our house.)
     

    tati-tatoo

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Mmmm... well, the Notre Dame blaze was not out of control, I agree... but in this case the robot Colossus want sent into areas that were considered as being too dangerous for human firefighters. That's why I thought that "Inferno" could be a perfect term to use here. But I understand that if I use "blaze", I won't take any risk, right?
     
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