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fire-eater

[fahyuh r-ee-ter]
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noun
  1. an entertainer who pretends to eat fire.
  2. an easily provoked, belligerent person.
  3. 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 formsfire-eat·ing, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


British Dictionary definitions for fire-eater

fire-eater

noun
  1. a performer who simulates the swallowing of fire
  2. a belligerent person
Derived Formsfire-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