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, 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 Workers were beginning to set up on the beach for one of the city’s two holiday firework displays when the explosives were unintentionally set off, the fire department said. NBC News, 4 July 2021 There were no injuries connected to public firework displays during 2020, the report said., 2 July 2021 The extreme temperature of even this simplest firework can lead to direct deep-boring contact burns when touched or stepped on, which can cause tissue damage in addition to injuring the skin., 20 Aug. 2021 It’s the first fireworks legalization measure that would have allowed retailers to double their consumer firework space for from 5,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet. Laura Hancock, cleveland, 13 Aug. 2021 The pop sound is believed to have been a firework, the sheriff’s office said. Stephanie Casanova,, 9 Aug. 2021 Kivlenieks was in a hot tub when a firework shell misfired. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 15 July 2021 Kivlenieks was fatally injured when a he was hit in the chest with an errant firework while trying to get out of a hot tub, police said. Mitch Stacy, Star Tribune, 7 July 2021 The vibrant colors in a firework don't come directly from the burning fuel, but metal minerals that are deliberately added in very small amounts to the mix. David Bressan, Forbes, 4 July 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

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Firework.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 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

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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