Definition of firebrand
1 : a piece of burning wood
2 : one that creates unrest or strife (as in aggressively promoting a cause) : agitator
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Examples of firebrand in a Sentence
a firebrand who urged crowds to riot during the blackouts
Recent Examples of firebrand from the Web
Left-wing firebrands like Warren can push for single payer while centrist Democrats argue for mending and expanding Obamacare.
That school canceled an April speech by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter due to security concerns.
A purported go-between for Senate Republicans and conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus, the firebrand Texan has inserted himself in almost every aspect of the health care negotiations.
It was founded by the firebrand Ian Paisley in 1971 at the height of the Northern Ireland conflict, which entailed some three decades of violence between the province’s largely Catholic nationalist minority and largely Protestant unionist majority.
Other key roles were also filled by anti-immigrant firebrands, pushing aside the more moderate populists that controlled the party, one of the three that make up Finland’s ruling coalition.
Roy is a firebrand who seems ready to live with the consequences of her actions, from her provocative trip to interview Edward Snowden, to her willingness to call the United States out for its political entanglements.
The party's founder was Ian Paisley, the Protestant firebrand who rejected compromise with Catholics in Northern Ireland for much of his life only to become a pivotal peacemaker in his later years.
On Jan. 20 in Seattle, a shooting outside University of Washington’s Kane Hall where alt-right firebrand Milo Yiannopoulus was scheduled to speak, left Josh Duke, an anti-fascist demonstrator, in critical condition after he was shot.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'firebrand'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The original firebrands were incendiary indeed; they were pieces of wood set burning at the fire, perhaps for use as a light or a weapon. English speakers started brandishing those literal firebrands as long ago as the 13th century. (Robinson Crusoe held one high as he rushed into a cave on his deserted island and saw by the light of the firebrand . . . lying on the ground a monstrous, frightful old he-goat.) But the burning embers of the wooden firebrand quickly sparked figurative uses for the term, too. By the early 14th century, firebrand was also being used for one doomed to burn in hell, and by 1382, English writers were using it for anyone who kindled mischief or inflamed passions.
First Known Use of firebrand
FIREBRAND Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of firebrand for English Language Learners
: a person who tries to get people to become angry and to do things for a political or social cause
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