One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1attributive (of a fire) very large or fierce.
- ‘They had shown up at the five-alarm fire five minutes too late to catch the perpetrators, but just in time to rescue the victims.’
- ‘As we watched the raging, five-alarm fire, I was torn between being horrified at its fury and intensity and delighted by the technology that was letting us get the news instantly without a television or radio in sight.’
- ‘Fire department inspectors investigating the five-alarm fire were unable to determine what caused it, and have turned the matter over to police.’
- 1.1 (of food, such as chillies) extremely pungent or hot.
- ‘Now salsas can be found worldwide, in varieties such as red chilli, guacamole, or green tomatillo, from mild, to tangy, to suicide five-alarm spicy.’
- ‘This can vary from the gentle warmth of an Anaheim pepper to the five-alarm fire of the habanero chili, one of the hottest peppers in the world.’
- ‘When we needed a siesta from the five-alarm fare, we moved on to some non-Mexican entrées.’
- ‘Made five-alarm chili the other day, with three kinds of beans and many, many hot peppers.’
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