• WordNet 3.6
    • n firework (usually plural) a device with an explosive that burns at a low rate and with colored flames; can be used to illuminate areas or send signals etc.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: At the White House, president John Adams was said to be the first to display fireworks there
    • n firework Work wrought in the fire.
    • n firework A contrivance of inflammable and explosive materials combined in various proportions, for the purpose of producing in combustion beautiful or amusing scenic effects, or to be used as a night signal on land or sea, or for various purposes in war: commonly used in the plural. The basis of these compositions consists of potassium chlorate, niter, sulphur, and charcoal, pulverized, and combined in different proportions with other agents which have the quality of imparting color to the flame (as with copper sulphate for blue, strontium nitrate or carbonate for red, potassium salts for violet, sodium salts for yellow, barium carbonate or nitrate for green), and with iron- and steel-filings to produce brilliant scintillations. These compositions are packed in cases of paper and pasteboard, generally cylindrical, the processes of packing and finishing demanding much skill and care. For scenic displays, the forms of fireworks most in use are the fixed fires, such as theater-fires, lances, and gerbes; rotating fires, as pin- or catharine-wheels, spiral wheels, etc.; ascending fires, as sky-rockets and girandoles; Roman candles; etc. As night signals or as incendiary projectiles, various pyrotechnic devices have been employed with success in military and naval operations. These devices consist of preparations used in the service of cannon or cannon-ammunition, such as slow-match, quick-match, friction, electric, and obturating primers, portfires, and fuses; for signals, such as signal-rockets, signal-lights, blue lights, etc., with their decorations consisting of stars, serpents, gold rain, rain of fire, and marrons; for incendiary purposes, as the carcass, incendiary match, and fire-stone; for light, as tarred links, torches, light-balls, fire-balls, pitched fascines, and parachute-shells; for offensive and defensive purposes, as bags of powder, petards, projectile rockets, as those of Congreve and Hale, light-barrels, and dynamite or nitroglycerin cartridges. The most familiar of the many forms of fire-works is the sky-rocket, whether employed as a signal or for mere display, or as a projectile in war. An important use of the rocket is that of a line-carrier to establish communication between a wrecked vessel and the shore. The Chinese, if not the actual inventors of fireworks, were the first to use the rocket as a missile in war, and the pyrotechnic exhibitions of the Chinese and Japanese still surpass those of all other peoples in ingenuity and splendor. The Japanese have contrived an exhibition of fireworks by daylight, consisting of bombs which, exploding high in air, discharge jets or volumes of colored smoke which take the forms of birds, fishes, trees, and even of human beings. Fireworks are supposed to have been introduced into Europe by the Italians. They are mentioned in a description of a pageant at the marriage of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn.
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  • Gilbert K. Chesterton
    “All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.”


In literature:

I don't care anything for the Fourth now, I've seen enough fireworks to last me a year.
"Jewel's Story Book" by Clara Louise Burnham
In the evening of the 7th, we played off some fireworks before a great concourse of people.
"A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16" by Robert Kerr
It looked like a fireworks display, and the row was increasing each minute.
"Fanny Goes to War" by Pat Beauchamp
After this little ceremony there was a grand display of fireworks, and we took our leave.
"Forty-one years in India" by Frederick Sleigh Roberts
I was wonderin' who was down there settin' off the fireworks.
"The Ridin' Kid from Powder River" by Henry Herbert Knibbs
Strange sights are seen on the Fourth of July when variously colored fireworks are blazing.
"General Science" by Bertha M. Clark
But you're right: this is the place where the fireworks come in.
"Empire Builders" by Francis Lynde
And there are to be musicians out of doors, and fireworks in the evening.
"Holiday Stories for Young People" by Various
A shining shower of fireworks beat out of red-hot bars.
"Verses for Children" by Juliana Horatia Ewing
Everything he wanted was brought to him, and music played while fireworks were set off in his honour.
"Stories to Tell Children" by Sara Cone Bryant

In poetry:

Tilting with the winds,
On arrowy stems,
A green crescent of palms
Sends up its forked
Firework of fronds.
"Southern Sunrise" by Sylvia Plath
They were ever so pleased to see me.
As soon as they knew it was me,
They started letting off fireworks !
—But I didn't wait to see.
"The Bugle Calls? (Rat-a-tat! Plonk! Plonk!)" by T W Connor
A firework of echoes from wall
To wall of the dark, dwarfed cottages.
But the echoes died at her back as the walls
Gave way to fields and the incessant seethe of grasses
Riding in the full
"Hardcastle Crags" by Sylvia Plath

In news:

Vancouver council nixes fireworks ban.
In a flash , fireworks can become disastrous.
But in a flash , backyard fireworks can turn a fun Fourth of July into a disaster.
Your 4th of July guide to food, fireworks and fun.
Solar flare looks like intergalactic fireworks.
Here are some intergalactic fireworks for your Fourth of July enjoyment.
A fire Tuesday morning burned about 15 acres of grass and sagebrush a couple miles north of Jump Off Joe in Benton County, crews believe it may have been started by fireworks.
Every holiday has its spectacle — flags and fireworks for July Fourth, colored lights for December's winterpalooza.
Really, how much trouble can a person cause at barbecues and fireworks.
Fireworks CS6 mobile design focus forms linchpin of new strategy.
Depending on where you are in the country, the Fourth of July fireworks are still going strong, so it seems appropriate to bring you news of Kisstixx, a new lip balm that purports to cause explosions of the romantic kind.
The fireworks at Glasgow's Hampden Park on the opening day of play at the 2012 Summer Olympics didn't end with the USA's 4-2 win over France.
My neighbors were shooting off fireworks fit for a baseball park.
Early-morning meetings of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors aren't exactly known for fireworks.
We have grand National Days — like Independence Day celebrated with fireworks and food and Thanksgiving Day celebrated with football and way too much food.

In science:

The completeness of a sample is estimated empirically from the available deeper samples, namely, the FIRES (Labbé et al. 2003; Förster Schreiber et al . 2006) and the FIREWORKS (Wuyts et al. 2008) catalogs.
The Most Massive Galaxies at 3.0
This library is further calibrated using the FIREWORKS photometry and spectroscopic redshifts from Wuyts et al. (2008).
PHAT: PHoto-z Accuracy Testing