Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fireworks n.

1. an emotional outburst, a state of intense excitement.

[UK]Jonson Cynthia’s Revels IV i: ana.: I shall garter my hose with your guts, and that shall be your all. mer.: ’Slid, what rare fireworks be here?
Dryden Absalom and Achitophel II 383: In fireworks give him leave to vent his spite; Those are the only serpents he can write.
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant I 363/2: Fireworks (tailors), a great disturbance, a state of intense excitement.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘One Thousand Dollars’ Voice of the City (1915) 75: If it had been ten thousand a fellow might wind up with a lot of fireworks and do himself credit.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 31: Ain’t Frisco sore? Watch out for fireworks now.
[UK]A.G. Empey Over the Top 123: Now for the fireworks, and I know they’ll be good and plenty.
[US]E. Dahlberg Bottom Dogs 75: When he whipped out of his jacket pocket his de luxe note book, a sure enough dictionary of wicked words, a string of earthy words that had the bible going, he gave the other guy fireworks.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 262: That’s what the public likes, just what they likes. Plenty of fireworks.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 83: The proprietor [...] lacks Pepe’s fireworks but he is eager to please.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 146: So round he comes and turns on the fireworks.
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 7: There wouldn’t be any fireworks or tough talk no matter how big the beef was.
E. Bunting Face at the Edge of the World 89: ‘There’ll be fireworks when the newspeople get hold of this,’ he said.

2. (US) guns.

[US]‘Philip Paxton’ A Stray Yankee in Texas 128: The old woman said Charley didn’t take his fire-works.
[US]S. Sterling ‘Ten Carats of Lead’ in Black Mask Stories (2010) 223/1: Where was you when the fireworks went off?
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

3. (US) matches.

[UK]J. Mair Hbk of Phrases 104: Fireworks, lucifer matches.

4. (US Und.) gunplay, shooting; in the context of war, a bombing raid.

[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 446: Fireworks, Gun-play.
[US]‘Paul Cain’ ‘Black’ in Omnibus (2006) 221: There’ll be some swell fireworks out there [...] There’s a sub-machine-gun on every truck.
[US]W.M. Raine Cool Customer 158: Well, I’m not really expecting any fireworks tonight.
[UK]C. Fluck ‘Bubbles’ of the Old Kent Road 28: ‘Did you get bombed?’ I asked. ‘Yes’ [...] my wife and kids were windy, and after the fireworks had died down a bit I got out of the shelter to go indoors and make a cup of tea. [Ibid.] 42: In 1940 Hitler held a Brock’s [firework manufacturer] Benefit over London. The fireworks were good in so much that round certain parts of the Elephant many millions of bugs were killed and vile property destroyed.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 68: John, the Finger, doesn’t want anybody hurt [...] so no fireworks.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 799: fireworks – Gun play.
[US]S. Yurick Warriors (1966) 70: He hadn’t heard any fireworks going off for a long time. Did that mean they had stopped shooting off because the neighbourhood was becoming loaded with Law?

5. a police vehicle with flashing lights.

[US]L. Dills CB Slanguage.