The Mozilla Project has changed the name of their stand-alone browser yet again. Formerly Phoenix, then Firebird, now Firefox. They are clearly hell-bent on some sort of flaming animal, no matter how many tries it takes them to find one that doesn’t infringe.
The word reminds me of foxfire — the phosphorescence which decaying wood can give off. I’ve seen this before, during a Hudson valley ramble in the dark dark woods. It was a beautiful blue-green — shocking — unimagined; and I figured I’d propagate it in my dorm room, eventually illuminating the entire space in the most eerie and natural way imaginable. I took a cool, damp hunk with me, and had its company indoors for one night, but it must have died — it never glowed again. O Science! Too oft thou killest that thou loves.
I hope I’ll see foxfire again sometime — maybe when I live further from all the bright satanic malls and whatnot.
Foxfire is in that damned second volume of DARE — the one with every single blooming word I want to look up — the one I can’t afford new and haven’t found used. So about all I can say is that OED thinks only Americans use the word these days.