fire·work | \ ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌwərk \

Definition of firework 

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

2 fireworks plural : a display of fireworks

3 fireworks plural

a : a display of temper or intense conflict

b : 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

New Lenox initially planned to stage its show July 6, but a second bout of heavy rain July 5 caused the fireworks to be water-damaged. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "New Lenox reschedules fireworks," 12 July 2018 Christian Gralau, an audio-visual student at Clear Creek High School, and his mom, Melissa Gralau, caught this footage of a thunderstorm behind the fireworks. Dana Burke, Houston Chronicle, "Cool videos capture lightning behind League City fireworks," 10 July 2018 An emergency room doctor from Rochelle, identified as ER doctor Matt Nitsche, also was at the fireworks show and ran to help. Alicia Fabbre, Elgin Courier-News, "'I felt the shock': St. Charles fire captain, Plainfield paramedic credited with saving lives of 2 lightning strike victims," 6 July 2018 The Major Division squad of 11- and 12-year-olds made sure the fireworks continued on the diamond — right from the game's outset at Sabal Pines Park. Rick Menning,, "Coconut Creek Little Leaguers set off their own fireworks in district all-star finale," 6 July 2018 News, the gang and some friends Citi-Biked around the streets and into Central Park before heading to a private roof to watch the customary fireworks. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Priyanka Chopra Spent Her July 4th Hanging With Sophie Turner & All Four Jonas Bros," 5 July 2018 On Wednesday the Fourth, the fireworks came back to Hamlet. Michael Gordon, charlotteobserver, "NC town canceled its 2017 fireworks due to gangs. Then Jeff Sessions got really ticked.," 5 July 2018 But no one is allowed on site, meaning fans must watch the fireworks from home or nearby neighborhoods. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Houston streets flood again, dampening July 4th celebrations," 4 July 2018 The Big Bay Boom is one of the biggest fireworks shows on the West Coast and brings up to half a million people to the festivities. Phillip Molnar,, "These people got to the Big Bay Boom really early," 4 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

26 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

fireworks : a display where fireworks are exploded

fireworks : a display of anger


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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