py·​ro·​tech·​nic | \ ˌpī-rə-ˈtek-nik How to pronounce pyrotechnic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly pyrotechnical \ ˌpī-​rə-​ˈtek-​ni-​kəl How to pronounce pyrotechnic (audio) \

Definition of pyrotechnic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to pyrotechnics



Definition of pyrotechnic (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : firework
b : any of various similar devices (as for igniting a rocket or producing an explosion)
2 : a combustible substance used in a firework

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Other Words from pyrotechnic


pyrotechnically \ ˌpī-​rə-​ˈtek-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pyrotechnic (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

You've read about funeral pyres, and you may even have survived a pyromaniac ("insane fire-starting") stage in your youth, so you might have guessed that pyr means "fire" in Greek. Pyrotechnic refers literally to fireworks, but always seems to be used for something else—something just as exciting, explosive, dazzling, sparkling, or brilliant. The performances of sports stars and dancers are often described as pyrotechnic, and a critic may describe the pyrotechnics of a rock guitarist's licks or a film's camerawork. A pyrotechnic performance is always impressive, but the word occasionally suggests something more like "flashy" or "flamboyant".

Examples of pyrotechnic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Last year, fire officials said a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used at a gender-reveal party ignited a major wildfire in California, which burned thousands of acres. David Aaro, Fox News, "New York dad-to-be killed in gender reveal explosion, police say," 23 Feb. 2021 The crack of gunfire sounded from each one, courtesy of a small pyrotechnic device. The Economist, "Military deception Democracies need to re-learn the art of deception," 16 Dec. 2020 It was sparked by a pyrotechnic device a couple used for a gender reveal party. James Rogers, Fox News, "Bobcat burned in California’s El Dorado fire returned to the wild," 3 Dec. 2020 The El Dorado fire was sparked Sept. 5 by a pyrotechnic device from a gender-reveal party at a park in Yucaipa. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Firefighter appears to have been ‘burned over’ by El Dorado fire, Forest Service says," 29 Oct. 2020 Officials were investigating the death of a firefighter at another Southern California wildfire that erupted earlier this month from a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used by a couple to reveal their baby’s gender. Christopher Weber, Anchorage Daily News, "Huge California wildfire threatens more than 1,000 homes near Los Angeles," 22 Sep. 2020 Officials said it was caused by a smoke-emitting pyrotechnic device that was part of a gender-reveal party in a park. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego native ID’d as Big Bear hotshot killed fighting San Bernardino wildfire," 21 Sep. 2020 The fire was sparked this month by a smoke-creating pyrotechnic device used by a couple to reveal their baby’s gender, Cal Fire said. Chronicle Staff,, "California wildfires: Live updates Sept. 18-19," 20 Sep. 2020 Eddie Van Halen, a guitar virtuoso whose pyrotechnic riffs and solos expanded the vocabulary of hard rock, inspired legions of headbanging imitators and propelled his band Van Halen to four turbulent decades of stadium-rock stardom, died Oct. 6. Washington Post, "Eddie Van Halen, guitar virtuoso with a shimmering sound, dies at 65," 6 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the spectacular pyrotechnic and LED light display can be seen from other vantage points in the city. Linda Kessler, Dallas News, "Count down to 2021 at these New Year’s Eve celebrations in and around Dallas," 28 Dec. 2020 If the district attorney pursues the case, the person who ignited the pyrotechnic would be the person charged, Milloy explained. Sarah Moon And Hollie Silverman, CNN, "A California fire sparked by a gender reveal party has grown to nearly 10,000 acres," 8 Sep. 2020 In body camera footage released by state police, at least one pyrotechnic is seen flying well over troopers' heads. Rebekah Riess And Jason Hanna, CNN, "6 arrested at Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, where police say protesters fired paintballs at officers," 27 June 2020 Now, the next generations of family members operate Garden State Fireworks, which manufactures pyrotechnics for Walt Disney World and other places. Gabrielle Russon,, "Meet the millennial who designed Magic Kingdom’s new fireworks show," 2 Aug. 2018 While parked in a driveway, a short in the rear power inverter triggered a pyrotechnic fuse, which prevented an even worse outcome. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "Our 2019 Tesla Model 3 Has Changed a Lot in Just Six Months," 16 Apr. 2020 And with Australia’s fire season rapidly worsening, as humans pump heat-trapping carbon into the atmosphere at a rate not seen in the last 66 million years, the next pyrotechnic assault could arrive long before that. Maddie Stone, The Atlantic, "A Forgotten Forest of Ancient Trees Was Devastated by Bushfires," 25 Feb. 2020 And indeed, after the world's unhappiest retiree bid adieu, pyrotechnics blew a hole in the pilot's canopy. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "French Fighter Jet Joy Ride Goes Très, Très Wrong," 13 Apr. 2020 The pyrotechnic display is even more awesome after dark. National Geographic, "Everything to know about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park," 15 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pyrotechnic.' 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 pyrotechnic


1629, in the meaning defined above


1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pyrotechnic


French pyrotechnique, from Greek pyr fire + technē art — more at technical

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Time Traveler for pyrotechnic

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The first known use of pyrotechnic was in 1629

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Last Updated

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pyrotechnic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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