firework

noun
fire·​work | \ ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌwərk \
plural fireworks

Definition of firework

1 : a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions setting off fireworks
2 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

3 fireworks plural

a : 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
b : 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
c : a spectacular display the fireworks of autumn leaves

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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 illustrated in our second example sentence, 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

As of Tuesday, Williams said the forecast calls for San Antonio to get about a half-inch of rain starting Wednesday, probably in the late afternoon before Fourth of July fireworks. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "After a hot and dry June, the forecast is largely unchanged," 4 July 2018 Caryn Reker of Jacksonville, Fla., remembers her father growing emotional while watching the Wishes fireworks show outside the ice-cream parlor on Disney World’s Main Street. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "Disney World’s Big Secret: It’s a Favorite Spot to Scatter Family Ashes," 24 Oct. 2018 The Skokie Park District sponsored a separate fireworks show at Niles West High School in the evening when the weather had cooled down a bit. Pioneer Press, chicagotribune.com, "Niles 4th of July parade featured marching bands, bevvy of patriotic revelry," 9 July 2018 Sparkler: For the first time in three years, the San Francisco fireworks show wasn’t socked in by fog. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Scott Pruitt is just the symptom. The disease is Trump," 7 July 2018 Both shows will feature the night's big draw — the fireworks show from the National Park Service, which has blessed both rival city concerts. Mark Kennedy, USA TODAY, "Watch out for fireworks on July 4th: It's Beach Boys vs. Sara Evans in rival TV concerts," 4 July 2018 But Delhiites were defiant, setting off all kinds of fireworks for hours. Umair Irfan, Vox, "New Delhi is once again the most polluted city on Earth," 8 Nov. 2018 The idea is to start with something of low value—in their case, a bag of contraband fireworks—and trade it for a slightly more valuable thing and then trade that thing up, all the way, in their case, to a shiny green moped. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Survivors and Strivers," 18 Oct. 2018 On the day, a colourful cascade of fireworks illuminated Astana’s gleaming space-age facades. The Economist, "The president of Kazakhstan throws himself a modest birthday bash," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'firework.' 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 firework

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for firework

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for firework

The first known use of firework was circa 1580

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More Definitions for firework

firework

noun

English Language Learners Definition of firework

: a small device that explodes to make a display of light and noise

fireworks : a display where fireworks are exploded

fireworks : a display of anger

firework

noun
fire·​work | \ ˈfīr-ˌwərk \

Kids Definition of firework

1 : a device that makes a display of light or noise by the burning of explosive or flammable materials
2 fireworks plural : a display of fireworks

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More from Merriam-Webster on firework

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with firework

Nglish: Translation of firework for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of firework for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about firework

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