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, 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 This fight isn’t a big exploding comic book-style firework show. Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Around the Bay Area, safe-and-sane firework sales are allowed in Pacifica, San Bruno, Newark, Union City, Dublin, Gilroy and Rohnert Park, among other spots. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 July 2021 Utah vendors say firework sales haven’t dipped despite drought. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 June 2021 Carlsbad at Park Hyatt Aviara: Park Hyatt Aviara, 7100 Aviara Resort Drive, hosts a firework show at 9 p.m. July 4, as part of its Light up your Fourth of July weekend festivities. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 June 2021 Finally, after your firework show is over and done, don’t just throw your fireworks into the garbage. Sylvia Goodman, The Courier-Journal, 22 June 2021 The 63-year-old Detroit firework show will be broadcast June 28 on WDIV Local 4, according to The Parade Company. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, 18 May 2021 Nationwide, firework sales are up for a number of different reasons. Duard Headley, The Enquirer, 1 July 2020 Consumer firework sales have doubled or tripled in the past month for some retailers compared to last year's numbers, according to Heckman. Megan Marples, CNN, 30 June 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

Dictionary Entries Near firework




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for firework

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Firework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

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

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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