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The non-existant word!

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posted on May, 7 2008 @ 06:05 AM
This is an extremely trivial issue, but I thought I'd present if just in case someone can help me.

There is no adjective with the meaning 'Not on Fire'.

Some people say you could use 'extinguished', but that implies it was once on fire in the past.

Others have suggested 'deflamed', but this sounds like it was once on fire too!

I need a present tence word that would allow you to say, "Even though he lived in a volcano, the man was _____ . With the blank being the missing adjective.

Can anyone find, or if not create a word to fill this gaping hole in the English language?!

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 06:48 AM
unscathed maybe?

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 08:38 AM

nonflammable (adjective)

impossible to ignite

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

I hope that helps.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 09:36 AM
This implied more that it couldn't be set on fire rather than it isn't on fire at the present time. I suspect this word quest is entirely futile!

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 10:58 AM
Oh well... i guess you wouldn't want to use "flame retardant" either then as they are similar words. If it was that exact sentence then i would probably use the word "quenched" if it was an intelligent reader.

I think the word that will be the best fit for you, that i can think of at the moment is:

fireless (adjective)

1. lacking fire; without a fire. Unabridged (v 1.1)

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 11:57 AM
Sorry to dampen the fire down a bit here..but have you tried the word


?? seems pretty straightforward...

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:01 PM
Is flameless a word ??

Sorry if i missed someone else posting that option ..



posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:43 PM
I like the sound of fireless or flameless!

Not sure with unlit, kinda sounds too broad like with turned-off lamps and such being covered by it!

Fireless or flameless sound like pretty close matches, my only slight complaint would be it sounds like you don't own or have the ability to create fire. Sort of like, 'he was left flameless by his lack of matches'.

Used in the meaning I'm looking for it would be 'He was left flameless as the blast from the napalm was deflected around him.' Sounds okay, perhaps not perfect though!

Still, some good guesses that I hadn't even thought of, though they seem so obvious now!

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:57 PM
Adj. 1. unlit - not set afire or burning; "the table was bare, the candles unlighted"; "held an unlit cigarette"

1. (of a fire, cigarette, etc.) not lit and therefore not burning
2. (of a road) not having any streetlights switched on

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 01:17 PM
Hmm that certainly makes unlit sound like a stronger contender!

The only issue remaining is that it's implied the item is a thing that is often lit, like a candle or cigarette as you mentioned. To say 'I found an unlit sausage on my plate.' sounds off! haha!

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 05:38 AM
Even though the man lived in the volcano, he was completely UN-BURNED.

He can be burnt But he was un-burned.

[edit on 9-5-2008 by Chukkles]

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 09:57 AM
Most languages have an "unmarked class" which represents the regular, normal, baseline state. You add phonemes (sounds that carry meaning, like prefixes and suffixes), to show that a given thing departs from the unmarked class.

For instance:

Actor - one who acts in front of an audience.

Actress - one who acts in front of an audience, and is female. Until the reformation, this was a rare category. This word has disappeared in the last 30 years, as media have striven to remove gender as a marked class in English.

Lion - lioness. etc.

Almost every language does a version of this (the marked/unmarked thing; not necessarily with respect to gender). German has

arzt - physician
arztin - a physician who is also female.

Arabic does something like this with plurals, in that there is are separate forms for dual vs. plural markers. English does this with discrete words like both, whereas other languages have it as a built-in feature.

Hopi goes even further, and has a 'paucal' marker, which indicates "a few of" something.

I bring all this up merely to point out that "not of fire" is already the unmarked class in English. In other words, in the experience of English speakers, the vast majority of the environment is . . . not on fire, and so it doesn't need a special phoneme to denote this.

[edit on 9-5-2008 by dr_strangecraft]

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 10:50 AM
How about 'unignited'?

Can't see it in my dictionary, but it could fit the bill nonetheless.

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 11:37 AM
I always liked unsinged.

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 12:10 PM
Why not unburned?

Though he sat out in the sun for an hour, his skin was unburned?

For food, it could be raw.

For certain circumstances, pristine. Though the fire raged down the valley, his house remained pristine.

Good point, though, no perfect antonyms for burned or on fire, but as someone said unlit is pretty good.

One of my favorite 'mistakes' in useage is'unthawed'.

Did you unthaw the roast for supper?

Obviously, though, it actually means 'frozen',

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 12:25 PM

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

I bring all this up merely to point out that "not of fire" is already the unmarked class in English. In other words, in the experience of English speakers, the vast majority of the environment is . . . not on fire, and so it doesn't need a special phoneme to denote this.

Nice. However, consider 'undead'. Most 'people' are alive by default, or they're corpses.

Thank Bram Stoker for first popularizing it. In fact he almost named 'Dracula' the Un-Dead.

Bram Stoker considered the term "The Un-Dead" for the original title for his novel Dracula (1897),[1] and its use in the novel is mostly responsible for the modern sense of the word. The word does appear in English before Stoker but with the more literal sense of "alive" or "not dead," for which citations can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary.

OED says:

Not dead; alive. Also, not quite dead but not fully alive, dead-and-alive. In vampirism, clinically dead but not yet at rest. Also absol. as n.
a1400-50 Alexander 158 And many was [th]e bald berne at banned [th]ar quile, [Th]at euer he dured [th]at day vndede opon erthe.

c1475 Rauf Coil[ygh]ear 855 Ane of vs sall neuer hine Vndeid in this place.

1548 UDALL, etc. Erasm. Par. John vi. 41b, Where as all men did eat therof, they neuertheles dyed, nether did any one of so great a number remain vndead.

1592 WARNER Alb. Eng. VII. xxxiv. 149 The same..That thought he liued not because his Neeces weare vndead.

1897 B. STOKER Dracula xxvii. 381 There remain one more victim in the Vampire fold; one more to swell the grim and grisly ranks of the Un-dead. Ibid. 382 This then was the Un-Dead home of the King-Vampire.

Back on topic, speaking of the O.E.D, it also lists 'unburnt' in addition to 'unburned' as an opposite of on fire.

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 01:07 PM
That's some good research!

I'm currently thinking unburnt is quite a good one, or 'unburning' to use the present tense!

Hmm... my spell check seems to think unburnt isn't a word!

This truly a dilemma! Perhaps I shall have to go to the effort of saying 'not on fire' next time someone inquires as to the state of my house, but it seems such a waste of good energy!

Disappointing really, I feel so...


There is of course one radical but perhaps necessary solution to this issue:


To extreme, or not extreme enough?

posted on May, 9 2008 @ 01:21 PM
reply to post by GrooveCat

Here's the O.E.D. page on it:

unburnt, unburned, ppl. a.

1. Not burnt or consumed by fire.
2. Not subjected to the action of fire for a specific purpose. Esp. of bricks, clay, lime, etc.

1626 BACON Sylva §898 We see also, that burnt wine is more hard and astringent, than wine unburnt.

It may be archaic, or regional.

posted on May, 11 2008 @ 11:19 PM
I understand the resistance to "unburned."

The problem with standard English is that most infinitives trend toward the past tense forms ( +ed ). "Unharmed" is an example of this. The threat must be ended before the potential victim can truly be said to be "unharmed." And yet we have no present-tense for this . . . .

"Not yet burned" has an ominous tone to it. Perhaps a thought category for pyromaniacs.

posted on May, 11 2008 @ 11:20 PM
Ooohh! I have it!

Fully Phlogistic

I rock.


[edit on 11-5-2008 by dr_strangecraft]

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