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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That led to a firestorm of criticism of Santiago, who reported that he was threatened and his family harassed over his decision to strip the bill. Melody Gutierrez,, "Wiener, Santiago reach deal on California net neutrality bill," 5 July 2018 Responding to the firestorm over the officers' actions captured on video, Batista changed the department's use-of-force policy. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Pastor Andre Miller to hold Sunday sermon on police brutality after," 9 June 2018 The offensive tweet that cost Roseanne Barr her successful reboot of her eponymous sitcom and touched off a firestorm of criticism wasn’t Ambien’s fault, the comedian ultimately admitted. Matthew Walberg,, "In wake of Roseanne’s tweets, experts say Ambien doesn’t change what you think, but might affect whether you say what you think," 30 May 2018 After openly rooting for the Golden State Warriors throughout the NBA playoffs, Randall ran up against a firestorm of criticism from Cleveland Cavaliers fans as the two teams prepare to face off for the title. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Browns' Damarious Randall offers to buy fans jerseys if Cavaliers win NBA title," 29 May 2018 Today those plans collapsed into chaos as the company felt compelled to cancel the event after a controversy kindled by chopsticks escalated into a social media firestorm. Vogue, "Dolce & Gabbana Cancels Its Shanghai Great Show Amid Controversy," 21 Nov. 2018 Markle wore a dress with an off-the-shoulder neckline to Queen Elizabeth's Trooping of the Colour ceremony in June, setting off a media firestorm. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Every Single Time Meghan Markle's Broken Royal Protocol," 16 July 2018 In 2018 this would have set ablaze a sports media firestorm. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Who were former Houston baseball players Jim Umbricht and Don Wilson?," 12 Apr. 2018 Not long after a toddler's meltdown provoked a Maine diner owner to yell at the child (prompting a social media firestorm), two-year-old Ian threw a supposedly much worse one at a restaurant in North Carolina. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "Toddler Throws 'Category 5' Tantrum in Restaurant, Stranger Leaves Mom in Tears for BEST Reason," 24 July 2015

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.

See More

First Known Use of firestorm

1945, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about firestorm

Statistics for firestorm

Last Updated

4 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for firestorm

The first known use of firestorm was in 1945

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for firestorm



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

More from Merriam-Webster on firestorm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with firestorm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for firestorm

Comments on firestorm

What made you want to look up firestorm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


esteemed in general opinion

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!