Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


Australian: a firefighter

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun firey is an informal version of ‘fireman’ or ‘firefighter’ used in Australia. I have not been able to find out where or when it started to be used, so if you know please do add a comment below this post.


Many of us who live outside Australia have only recently become acquainted with the word firey. This informal term for a firefighter, not to be confused with the adjective ‘fiery‘, has been much in the news lately. Many Australian firefighters, especially in more rural areas, are volunteers who take time out from their normal jobs to perform firefighting duties. The ongoing terrible bush fires have put great strains on this service, and some firefighters have lost their lives. People in Australia and round the world have responded to the crisis by raising funds to support the fireys and show their appreciation for the work they do. Firey resembles other informal terms for professions, like chippy (or chippie) for a carpenter and sparkie for an electrician. Firey is a recent addition to Macmillan Dictionary’s Open Dictionary. If you would like to contribute a word or expression to the dictionary you can do so here.


“Does being a firey give me all the insight to this complex issue? Not even close and I need to make that clear.”
(Firey Drew Fitzsimmons, news.com.au)

Young Adult writers Emily Gale and Nova Weetman came up with the idea for an “Authors for Fireys” fundraiser a fortnight ago.

Related words

firefighter, fireman, fire brigade

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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