Definition of Catherine wheel in English:

Share this entry

Catherine wheel

Pronunciation: /ˈkaθrɪn wiːl/


A firework in the form of a flat coil which spins when fixed to something solid and lit.
Example sentences
  • But if we wish to avoid establishing a black market, and the sale of fireworks to the public is to continue, then let these be the sparklers, Catherine wheels and small rockets Mr Waller appears to favour.
  • By the end of the day we managed to acquire a substantial collection of rockets, Catherine wheels and sparklers.
  • Next was a 2/6 box - as before with a couple of rockets, a few Catherine wheels and some Bangers.


Late 16th century (as a heraldic term for a spiked wheel): named after St Catherine (see Catherine, St), with reference to her martyrdom.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.