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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Synonyms for firework


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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 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 From London to Rio de Janeiro, large firework displays have been substituted with special at-home broadcasts. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Thursday, December 31," 31 Dec. 2020 The firework exploded next to a group of officers, injuring some of them. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "'I wish hate for all of y’all': Rioters seen launching fireworks at DC police," 29 Oct. 2020 The City of Tomball already has some experience streaming an online event from this year’s Fourth of July firework show. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "City of Tomball cancels its festivals for the rest of 2020," 14 Aug. 2020 Arlington’s annual firework show is still on track for July 3, despite a location move from downtown to the entertainment district. Brayden Garcia, Dallas News, "Arlington fireworks show to take place in the entertainment district on July 3," 25 June 2020 Last week, a beaming Kim Jong Un presided over another demonstration of his country's military might in a nighttime parade in Pyongyang, kicked off with a firework display. Joby Warrick,, "Kim may be planning ballistic missile test as N. Korea ratchets up pressure on new US administration," 19 Jan. 2021 Brent Waddell said the person was struck by a large firework and seriously injured. Jerzy Shedlock, oregonlive, "Man dies from injuries in Clark County fireworks accident," 14 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for firework

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The first known use of firework was circa 1580

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Last Updated

23 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Firework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of firework for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of firework for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about firework

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