Historical & Current Events dictionary

4th of July

or July 4th or Independence Day [fohrth uhv joo-lahy]

What does 4th of July mean?

The 4th of July is a national holiday in the United States of America. Also known as Independence Day, the 4th of July commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which solidified the American colonies’ resolution to fight for their independence from Britain.

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🎆 - fireworks emoji , Cake and Cunnilingus Day, World Redhead Day, National Sex Day, Friday the 13th

Where does 4th of July come from?

4th of July

A major milestone in the United States’ development as a nation, the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson and later approved by Congress in a closed-door session on July 2nd, 1776. The next day founding Father John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail: “But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.” He continues, saying that he thinks that this will become “the great anniversary Festival” to be remembered as “the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.”

However, the actual document is dated July 4th, which is when it was finally accepted after sessions of debate and rewording. It’s unknown which members of Congress actually signed the document on July 4th.


Examples of 4th of July

Intriguingly, July 4th has become a telling historical core sample to the entire American experiment. A look at all the stuff that has happened on this date since the Founding Fathers penned their Declaration reveals the best of this country and, occasionally, the worst.
Ty Burr, “Through the years, July Fourth events a microcosm of our nation,” Boston Globe, July 1, 2016
In the month around July 4th, an average of 230 people end up in emergency rooms each day with fireworks-related injuries, the agency reports.
Niraj Chokshi, “A History of Fireworks Mayhem on the Fourth of July,” New York Times, July 1, 2016
American independence from Great Britain was not decided on July 4th.
Valerie Strauss, “What you know about July 4th is wrong,” Washington Post, July 2, 2014

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Who uses 4th of July?

The 4th of July is traditionally celebrated with fireworks, outdoor cooking and barbecues, carnivals, fairs, and other public festivities. Due to the patriotic nature of the holiday, it often involves red, white, and blue decorations (after the US flag), as well as tributes to American troops and government institutions.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of 4th of July like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of 4th of July that will help our users expand their word mastery.