1

backfire

verb back·fire \ ˈbak-ˌfī(-ə)r \
Updated on: 17 Apr 2018

Definition of backfire

1 : to have the reverse of the desired or expected effect
  • their plans backfired
2 : to make or undergo a backfire

Examples of backfire in a Sentence

  1. my plan to throw her a surprise party backfired when she ended up sobbing that everyone had forgotten her birthday

Recent Examples of backfire from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backfire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of backfire

1852

backfire Synonyms

Synonyms

boomerang;

Near Antonyms

succeed;

flourish, prosper, thrive;


2

backfire

noun

Definition of backfire

1 : a loud noise caused by the improperly timed explosion of fuel mixture in the cylinder of an internal combustion engine
2 : a fire started to check an advancing fire by clearing an area

Recent Examples of backfire from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'backfire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of backfire

1801


BACKFIRE Defined for English Language Learners

backfire

Definition of backfire for English Language Learners

  • of an engine or vehicle : to make a loud sound when fuel is not burned properly

  • : to have the opposite result of what was desired or expected


BACKFIRE Defined for Kids

1

backfire

verb back·fire \ ˈbak-ˌfīr \

Definition of backfire for Students

backfired; backfiring
1 : to have a result opposite to what was planned
  • The joke backfired.
2 : to make a loud engine noise caused by fuel igniting at the wrong time

2

backfire

noun

Definition of backfire for Students

1 : a loud engine noise caused by fuel igniting at the wrong time
2 : a fire that is set to stop the spread of a forest fire or a grass fire by burning off a strip of land ahead of it


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