Definition of firebrand in English:



  • 1A person who is passionate about a particular cause, typically inciting change and taking radical action.

    ‘a political firebrand’
    • ‘Though by no means revolutionary firebrands, all rebel against the older generation.’
    • ‘As is befitting of a 46-year-old, he looks more like a greying chartered accountant than a radical firebrand.’
    • ‘That's what thrust him and his classmates into the intersection of law and education with all of the zeal of firebrands.’
    • ‘Apart from anything else, it showed how superior they were to other nations, in being both generous and also resilient enough to be able to tolerate these firebrands among them.’
    • ‘His followers see in him a populist hero, but more than anything else he resembles a postmodern version of William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic firebrand whose demagoguery derailed the People's Party in 1896.’
    • ‘One of the main themes which ran through the interview was a sense of pragmatism which one does not always associate with the poplar perception of left wing firebrands.’
    • ‘Its faculty and students included many antislavery firebrands, and a series of public lyceum debates soon gave Lane such a reputation as a hotbed of activism that in 1834 the trustees forbade further discussion of the matter.’
    • ‘There's no sympathy for the firebrands because they did succeed, they did change the world, and when the culture concedes a little there's so much less to be angry about.’
    • ‘His late grandfather, George, and his late father, Andreas, were both populist Socialist firebrands who became prime ministers.’
    • ‘It's a feature of modern politics for some firebrand to declare that they're going to go into elected office and ‘clean things up’.’
    • ‘There were activist firebrands getting into loud political conversations with people who just wanted to belt back drinks with parasols in them.’
    • ‘As Vermont governor, the liberal firebrand was a fiscal conservative with close ties to business’
    • ‘I ride the political coattails of the lobbyists and the firebrands.’
    • ‘After a period as a youthful firebrand in the Radical Party, he joined the Greens.’
    • ‘If Franklin had lucked into a royal audience, might he have persuaded the King to ignore firebrands like Wilkes and do the right thing by America?’
    • ‘But if everything goes to plan, it will be fourth time lucky for the former union firebrand who has pulled off a remarkable political and personal transformation.’
    • ‘Come back tomorrow for how the firebrands of those revolutionary times saw the young Comrade Bob and how they strove to place him in the pantheon with Lenin and Lennon.’
    • ‘Faculty senate presidents, if I may say so myself, tend to be a responsible lot of leadership types, not firebrands, malcontents, or radicals.’
    • ‘Again, that is the sort of suggestion that I think some of the firebrands are putting out in public.’
    • ‘Amongst our current crop of careerist politicians, we simply don't have enough firebrands with a passionate commitment to pursuing genuine social change.’
    radical, revolutionary
    troublemaker, agitator, rabble-rouser, demagogue, soapbox orator, incendiary, subversive
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  • 2A piece of burning wood.

    • ‘Shadows flicked and he could hear the soft crackle of firebrands set into the walls around him, their soft light illuminating the brickwork and tapestries of the room.’
    • ‘He tied firebrands to the tails of 300 foxes to scare away his enemies.’
    • ‘In any case, it took a long time and a large number of men equipped with axes, swords, and firebrands to do such extensive damage that a whole community suffered economically.’
    • ‘When it comes to reducing vegetative fuel hazards, flame lengths and firebrands are the greatest concern.’
    • ‘Armoured figures started to head for the bridge, swords and firebrands ready.’