Lo`co*fo"co (?), n. [Of uncertain etymol.; perh. for L. loco foci instead of fire; or, according to Bartlett, it was called so from a self-lighting cigar, with a match composition at the end, invented in 1834 by John Marck of New York, and called by him locofoco cigar, in imitation of the word locomotive, which by the uneducated was supposed to mean, self-moving.]
A friction match.
A nickname formerly given to a member of the Democratic party.
The name was first applied, in 1834, to a portion of the Democratic party, because, at a meeting in Tammany Hall, New York, in which there was great diversity of sentiment, the chairman left his seat, and the lights were extinguished, for the purpose of dissolving the meeting; when those who were opposed to an adjournment produced locofoco matches, rekindled the lights, continued the meeting, and accomplished their object.
© Webster 1913.