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

Synonyms for firework


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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 Playing a recording of white noise or soft music can help cover some of the firework sounds (and other loud noises like thunder). People Staff,, 5 May 2022 Pennies taped to a commercial-grade firework were intended to act like shrapnel, investigators said. John Flesher And Ed White, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Apr. 2022 Pennies taped to a commercial-grade firework were intended to act like shrapnel, investigators said. NBC News, 8 Apr. 2022 Detectives determined that the items were improvised explosive devices, and not any type of firework that could be purchased legally. Alex Groth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Feb. 2022 While extra buses should allow the agency to transport more people quickly, the routes could face delays as police set up barricades for the 9:30 p.m. firework display. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, 19 Apr. 2022 Reuters reported that Sydney in Australia, famous for its New Year firework display, is reportedly considering replacing the pyrotechnics with drones to reduce the risk of bushfires. Lisa J. Huriash,, 31 Mar. 2022 Thus far, the club has raised $3,000 of the $40,000 needed to fund the firework show via a GoFundMe. San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Mar. 2022 Atlanta canceled its annual Peach Drop, Annapolis canceled the in-person portion of its celebration and Seattle's New Year's firework show is only available for viewing online or on television. Adisa Hargett-robinson, ABC News, 30 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of firework

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of firework was circa 1580

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Firework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for firework


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

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


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