fire·​work | \ ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌwərk How to pronounce firework (audio) \
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

USA TODAY Kent State officials canceled a women's field hockey game Saturday so the school could set up a fireworks display on a nearby field prior to its football team's home contest, much to the chagrin of the two teams. Christopher Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Kent State cancels women's field hockey game for football game fireworks, school apologizes," 11 Sep. 2019 Enjoy a Sandy Alomar bobblehead giveway and fireworks display Saturday and a toy truck giveway and Kids Fun Day activities on Sunday. Joey Morona,, "Ethiopian Cultural Garden dedication and 10 more things to do in Cleveland this weekend," 24 Aug. 2019 The festivities will run 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 17 with food, games, and entertainment culminating in a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Food booths will offer Taste of the Jungle treats. Sheila Vilvens,, "Jungle Jim's Eastgate, Crossroads, Union Twp host end of summer bash," 26 July 2019 The party, which included guests Ashanti and DJ Khaled, featured ornate decor, a towering cake, and even a fireworks display. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "J.Lo’s 50th Birthday Party Is the Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of," 25 July 2019 At the time the San Diego marine park received its approval to stage the new nightly show, the California Coastal Commission restricted fireworks displays to 14 nights per summer. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fireworks return to SeaWorld after two-year absence," 18 July 2019 There will be birthday cupcakes, a poetry reading and a performance by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, capped by a fireworks display that’s accompanied by cannon fire. Washington Post, "17 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend," 11 July 2019 The fireworks display that followed the event was, at the President’s request, the largest in Washington’s history. Osita Nwanevu, The New Yorker, "Cutouts of J.F.K., Jr., Tanks, and Adulation at Trump’s “Salute to America”," 6 July 2019 The Navy Pier was so packed with onlookers for the fireworks display Thursday night that the entrance had to be closed before the event due to capacity, pier officials tweeted. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "3 stabbed, others trampled following fireworks on Chicago's Navy Pier," 5 July 2019

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

7 Oct 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



English Language Learners Definition of firework

: a small device that explodes to make a display of light and noise
: a display where fireworks are exploded
: a display of anger


fire·​work | \ ˈfīr-ˌwərk How to pronounce firework (audio) \

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 Encyclopedia article about firework

Comments on firework

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


to fake an opponent out of position

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