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[fahyuh r-ee-ter] /ˈfaɪərˌi tər/
an entertainer who pretends to eat fire.
an easily provoked, belligerent person.
U.S. History. an early and extreme Southern advocate of secession before the Civil War.
Origin of fire-eater
First recorded in 1665-75
Related forms
fire-eating, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fire-eater
Historical Examples
  • He is the dandy of the company in real life, though a fire-eater on the stage.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • Where are the blankets and merchandise that bought the right of the fire-eater?

    The Pioneers James Fenimore Cooper
  • I may have been a fire-eater once—I may have been a gay young feller as could—; but no matter.

    The Lighthouse R.M. Ballantyne
  • “My, what a fire-eater my little Harvey has become,” she said.

    What's-His-Name George Barr McCutcheon
  • It was quite evident that he was not such a fire-eater as Captain Stinger.

    In The Saddle Oliver Optic
  • "They called you the 'fire-eater,'" I added, never knowing when to stop.

    The Hive

    Will Levington Comfort
  • People said afterward it was a pity he was such a fire-eater.

    The Bartlett Mystery Louis Tracy
  • Personally, he is the last man who would be selected as a “fire-eater.”

  • And he pulled out the money that fire-eater had made him a present of.

  • fire-eater, on the contrary, whenever he was really overcome, had the habit of sneezing.

    Pinocchio C. Collodi
British Dictionary definitions for fire-eater


a performer who simulates the swallowing of fire
a belligerent person
Derived Forms
fire-eating, noun, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for fire-eater



  1. A quarrelsome and energetic person (1804+)
  2. A firefighter; Smoke-Eater (1920s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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