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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for firework


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Reservations are required, hugs and handshakes with Mickey and other characters are off limits, and the famous parades and firework shows have been shelved to limit crowding. CBS News, "As COVID-19 ebbs in California, Disneyland reopens after 13-month closure," 30 Apr. 2021 Bolides shine brightly and then explode soon after like a firework in the sky. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fireball Illuminates Skies Across East Coast of Florida," 17 Apr. 2021 His weapon of choice is a firework fashioned into a sort of grenade. New York Times, "‘I Will Die Protecting My Country’: In Myanmar, a New Resistance Rises," 24 Mar. 2021 Police previously said someone had tossed a Molotov cocktail, but further investigation at the scene proved the projectile was actually a firework. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, "Portland election unrest reroutes emergency services as destructive crowds block street access," 5 Nov. 2020 After the lights have stimulated the anticipation of a threat, the resounding crack of the firework confirms this perception in our brains. Anna Brooks, Popular Science, "Fireworks scare us—that’s why we love them," 30 Dec. 2020 One officer suffered a burn to her neck when her face mask melted, police said, while a sergeant who was standing nearby experienced a leg injury when he was struck by a piece of firework. Fox News, "2 Portland police officers hurt, 16 rioters arrested during late-night protests," 8 Aug. 2020 The event will offer a small food court, live music with Emerald City Band and a firework show. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "Allen plans to hold in-person Market Street Allen USA Celebration this summer," 11 Mar. 2021 On July 5, 2018, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported the same locks were used in Brooklyn Heights to help prevent terrorist attacks during the Independence Day firework show. Devon Link, USA TODAY, "Fact check: USPS collection box locks are used as security measures during large events," 9 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of firework

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about firework

Time Traveler for firework

Time Traveler

The first known use of firework was circa 1580

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about firework

Statistics for firework

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Firework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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