fire·​storm | \ ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌstȯrm How to pronounce firestorm (audio) \

Definition of firestorm

1 : a very intense and destructive fire usually accompanied by high winds The Rooses' house and gardens were obliterated in the 1991 Oakland firestorm.— Craig Summers Black especially : one that is started by attack with nuclear or incendiary weapons and that creates a powerful updraft which causes very strong inrushing winds to develop in the surrounding area His goal was to create firestorms like the ones that had consumed Hamburg and Dresden, conflagrations so vast and intense that nothing could survive them … — David M. Kennedy
2a : a sudden or violent outburst a firestorm of public protest
b : a raging controversy a political firestorm

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Examples of firestorm in a Sentence

The bombing left the city engulfed in a firestorm. His proposal set off a political firestorm. a firestorm of public protest
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Recent Examples on the Web Indeed, his victory created a firestorm on social media, particularly among Carrie Underwood's fans, who anticipated her name would cap what was an entire night dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women in country music. Nancy Kruh,, "Garth Brooks Pulls His Name from Consideration for CMA Entertainer of the Year," 29 July 2020 But despite Zuckerberg's attempt to diffuse the firestorm during the discussion, the boycott organizers left disappointed. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Facebook boycott organizers on meeting Mark Zuckerberg: “The company is functionally flawed”," 7 July 2020 The controversy over whether Trump was briefed on the alleged Russian plot has caused a firestorm through Washington. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Biden targets Trump's mental state: 'Doesn't seem cognitively aware'," 30 June 2020 Although the quote was fake, Jackson’s anti-Semitic post set off a firestorm of controversy. Mark Daniels, USA TODAY, "Julian Edelman invites DeSean Jackson to trip to Holocaust Museum after Eagles WR's anti-Semitic posts," 9 July 2020 As August gave way to September of 1918, few people were thinking about the deadly influenza pandemic that would soon sweep across Texas and the rest of the country with the speed and ferocity of a firestorm. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "Lessons from the past: How the deadly second wave of the 1918 “Spanish flu” caught Dallas and the U.S. by surprise," 3 July 2020 But the move has raised a firestorm of criticism at home. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Populists Inflame the Coronavirus Outbreak Across Latin America," 2 July 2020 In contrast, Facebook left Trump's comments untouched, setting off a firestorm of criticism and prompting hundreds of companies to boycott Facebook's ads. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Conservative social media darling Parler discovers that free speech is messy," 1 July 2020 Last year, Zelensky was drawn into the center of a Washington firestorm after Trump tried to pressure him to launch investigations into the Bidens to help his reelection campaign. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, "Top aides to Ukraine’s Zelensky outline plans to make tape leaks illegal," 30 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'firestorm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of firestorm

1945, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for firestorm

Time Traveler

The first known use of firestorm was in 1945

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Statistics for firestorm

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Firestorm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce firestorm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of firestorm

: a very large fire that destroys everything in its path and produces powerful winds
: a large amount of anger and criticism

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