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The opening in early firearms and cannons through which the powder was ignited.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Firearms, Gunnery, Ordnance & Artillery) a hole in the breech of early cannon and firearms through which the charge was ignited
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



the vent in the breech of an early firearm through which the charge was ignited.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
It was loaded to the muzzle; but just as the pilot was about to apply a red-hot coal to the touchhole, Mr.
Old cannon, with touchholes almost as big as their muzzles, were looked upon as inestimable treasures.
Looking more closely, it bore a gold touchhole and a maker's mark struck in gold that reads "BAKER." It shared most of the features of an English military Baker rifle or carbine, but the quality of workmanship and the lines exhibited in the gun were extraordinary.
The spark from the cap(s) travels through the touchhole, igniting the charge of black powder that sends the small lead ball on its way down the bore.
Early firearms called hand cannons were fired by introducing a glowing ember into a touchhole that led to the powder charge inside and did not require a trigger.
My religion consists in a firelock, open touchhole, good flint, well rammed charge, and seventy rounds of powder and ball.
The resulting shower of sparks ignites the powder in the pan and sets off the main powder charge via a touchhole in the side of the barrel.
This wasn't much problem when guns were fired by sticking a burning fuse through a touchhole to contact the powder (the origin of "fire in the hole!"), but eventually shooters depended on a hammer staying back even when they tripped.
Still, one wonders just what would happen if this contrivance's gunner accidentally had a flashover from one touchhole to the next.
The barrel with its touchhole and the stock of the matchlock are self-explanatory.
With the exception of the usual scratches, nicks and knocks one can expect to see on a 200 year old gun, the Bess appeared to have seen little use as its action was crisp, the touchhole unworn and bore pristine.
When I went online, I found one source that offers a repro with no hole drilled for the touchhole so it can be sold in England as a showpiece.