fire·​work ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌwərk How to pronounce firework (audio)
plural fireworks
: a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions
setting off fireworks
fireworks plural : a display of fireworks
a celebration marked by fireworks
A large crowd gathered to watch the fireworks.
a spectacular fireworks display
Of course there is more to the Fourth of July than fireworks.John Updike
fireworks plural
: a display of temper or intense conflict
… director Jack Hofsiss, in his film debut, and screenwriter David Rabe … fill the screen with raw emotional fireworks.People Weekly
: strong feelings of usually romantic or sexual attraction between two people
… Hollywood has done a pretty convincing job of making so many of us believe that if there aren't immediate fireworks between two people, then it's time to walk away.Tayi Sanusi
: a spectacular display
the fireworks of autumn leaves

Did you know?

The word fireworks burst upon the scene in the 1500s as a reference to military explosives (a sense that is now obsolete). These explosives were originally used as weapons, of course, but soon they were also being used in explosive displays celebrating victory or peace. By 1575 people were oohing and aahing over "fireworks shewed upon the water; the which were both strange and wel [sic] executed." Figurative uses have been popping up ever since the 1600s. In addition to the angry explosion sense, fireworks can also refer to a spectacular display of musical, visual, or verbal brilliance, as in "an outstanding album, bursting with spectacular musical fireworks."

Examples of firework in a Sentence

Are you going to stay for the fireworks? We expect a few fireworks during the presidential debate.
Recent Examples on the Web Republicans were more likely to be OK with fireworks if they’re used responsibly. Anthony Man, Sun Sentinel, 4 July 2024 There were community runs, neighborhood barbecues, carnivals and, at night, the sky was bright with fireworks celebrating the Fourth of July. Heather McRea, Orange County Register, 4 July 2024 Summer is officially in full swing with the Fourth of July, which means super hot astrological energy is in the air along with the fireworks that burst into the night sky. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 4 July 2024 As the sun sets and everyone is gearing up for fireworks, slice into a Frozen Lemonade pie—no fresh lemons required, just one container of frozen lemonade and only 30 minutes of hands-on time. Catherine Jessee, Southern Living, 3 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for firework 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'firework.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of firework was circa 1580


Dictionary Entries Near firework

Cite this Entry

“Firework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


fire·​work -ˌwərk How to pronounce firework (audio)
: a device that makes a display of light or noise by the burning of explosive or flammable materials
plural : a display of fireworks
plural : a display of temper

More from Merriam-Webster on firework

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