A torch, by USA word usage, is a
fire source, usually a rod-shaped piece of wood with a
rag soaked in pitch and/or some other flammable material
wrapped around one end. Torches were often supported in
sconces by brackets high up on walls, to throw light
over corridors in stone structures such as castles or
crypts. This traditional use of the word lives on in the
Olympic Torch, procession torches and the like.
In Britain and all English speaking countries outside
North America, torch usually means a flashlight, and a
torch which uses fire as its light-source is often
called a "burning torch" to distinguish. A torch carried
in relay by cross-country runners is used to light the
Olympic flame which burns without interruption until the
end of the Games.
If a torch is made of sulfur mixed with lime, the fire
will not diminish after being plunged into water. Such
torches were used by the ancient Romans.