firework

noun
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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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

Stéphane Lissner is the opera’s director general, and—in contrast to Dupont’s fireworks—the surprisingly traditional programming and format of the opera gala largely highlight the bel canto repertoire of the 19th and early 20th century. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "The Paris Opera Celebrates 350 Years With a Glittering Gala," 14 May 2019 Yes, exactly All right, there were fireworks a today at Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing with protesters still spouting off while Democrats simply attempted to make a name for themselves. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway reacts to anonymous 'resistance' NYT op-ed," 5 Sep. 2018 Activities will wrap up at 10pm with a firework show. Charlene Santiago, star-telegram, "Where to celebrate Independence Day," 27 June 2018 The People’s Republic of China turns 70 in October and will celebrate with flag-waving and fireworks. Michael Meyer, WSJ, "The Quiet Revolt That Saved China," 16 Apr. 2019 Promotional images show the stars sharing a kiss atop a building—with fireworks bursting in the background. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Hallmark's 'A Midnight Kiss' Was Filmed in a Romantic City That's Perfect for New Year's," 29 Dec. 2018 The concert is free and ends with a fireworks show. Sandy Guerra-cline, star-telegram, "River rockers, kid actors and peaches make the top 10 list of things to do in DFW," 11 July 2018 Public Information Officer Pete Piringer told Fox News that the vehicle was loaded with fireworks that were apparently ignited accidentally as others were being set off nearby. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Authorities investigate Jeep Wrangler burned in fireworks fiasco," 10 July 2018 The afternoon started with a parade and ended with a fireworks show. Pioneer Press, chicagotribune.com, "Niles 4th of July parade featured marching bands, bevvy of patriotic revelry," 9 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

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for firework

The first known use of firework was circa 1580

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More Definitions for firework

firework

noun

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

firework

noun
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with firework

Nglish: Translation of firework for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of firework for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about firework

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