fire·storm | \ ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌstȯrm \

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

Argentina arrived in Russia on the back of a diplomatic firestorm after canceling a warmup match with Israel, apparently as an act of protest against the treatment of Palestinians. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "How the World Cup reflects the world," 14 June 2018 And in February, Mesa police found themselves at the center of a local firestorm when an 84-year-old woman was injured after police were called to her residence. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Disturbing video shows Mesa police officers brutally beating an unarmed man," 6 June 2018 Experts challenged the statistical methods in the 2016 study, setting off a firestorm into which now step Barbi and Lagona. Elie Dolgin, Scientific American, "There's No Limit to Longevity, Says Study Reviving Human Life Span Debate," 1 July 2018 The whole matter is a kind of tempest in a teapot, a microcosm for a now-familiar cycle in which celebrities say something with a meaning that isn’t perfectly clear in an interview and set off a firestorm that then must be addressed. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "David Lynch says his Trump endorsement was out of context, asks Trump to “turn the ship around”," 26 June 2018 The separation policy set off a firestorm of negative public opinion as media organizations published images of crying children and spoke to family members. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "Companies Caught Up in Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Immigration Policy See Big Risks," 22 June 2018 But this year the on-going controversy over whether NFL players can kneel during the National Anthem has engulfed the league in a political firestorm. Alix Langone, Time, "White House Says Philadelphia Eagles ‘Unable’ to Attend Super Bowl Celebration Because They ‘Disagree’ With Trump on the National Anthem," 5 June 2018 As might be expected, the unorthodox move set off a firestorm on Twitter. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "'Bachelor' fans react to the craziness of the Arie, Becca and Lauren situation," 6 Mar. 2018 Slowly, the trauma of the historic firestorm has begun to fade. Lizzie Johnson,, "First person to rebuild after Wine Country fires finds frontier of hope," 30 June 2018

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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Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for firestorm

The first known use of firestorm was in 1945

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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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to make amends

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