fire

1 of 3

noun

plural fires
often attributive
1
a(1)
: the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat
(2)
: one of the four elements of the alchemists
air, water, fire, and earth
b(1)
: burning passion : ardor
young lovers with their hearts full of fire
(2)
: liveliness of imagination : inspiration
the force and fire of his oratory
2
a
: fuel in a state of combustion (as on a hearth)
warmed his hands at the crackling fire
b
British : a small gas or electric space heater
3
a
: a destructive burning (as of a building)
The shack was destroyed by a fire.
b(1)
: death or torture by fire
He confessed under threat of the fire.
(2)
: severe trial or ordeal
He had proved himself in the fire of battle.
4
: brilliancy, luminosity
the fire of a gem
5
a
: the firing of weapons (such as firearms, artillery, or missiles)
The troops were ordered to cease fire. [=stop shooting]
They opened fire on [=began shooting at] the enemy.
also : the bullets, shells, etc., that are discharged
The soldiers endured heavy fire.
see also friendly fire compare counterfire
b
: intense verbal attack or criticism
His remarks have provoked heavy fire from his political opponents.
c
: a rapidly delivered series (as of remarks)
fireless adjective

fire

2 of 3

verb

fired; firing

transitive verb

1
a
: to set on fire : kindle
also : ignite
fire a rocket engine
b(1)
: to give life or spirit to : inspire
the description fired his imagination
(2)
: to fill with passion or enthusiasm
often used with up
c
: to light up as if by fire
d
: to cause to start operating
usually used with up
fired up the engine
2
a
: to drive out or away by or as if by fire
b
: to dismiss from a position
3
a(1)
: to cause to explode : detonate
(2)
: to propel from or as if from a gun : discharge, launch
fire a rocket
(3)
: shoot sense 1b
fire a gun
(4)
: to score (a number) in a game or contest
b
: to throw with speed or force
fired the ball to first base
fire a left jab
c
: to utter with force and rapidity
4
: to apply fire or fuel to: such as
a
: to process by applying heat
fire pottery
b
: to feed or serve the fire of
fire a boiler

intransitive verb

1
a
: to take fire : kindle, ignite
b
: to begin operation : start
the engine fired
c
: to operate especially as the result of the application of an electrical impulse
the spark plug fires
2
a
: to become irritated or angry
often used with up
b
: to become filled with excitement or enthusiasm
3
a
: to discharge a firearm
fire at close range
b
: to emit or let fly an object
4
: to tend a fire
5
: to transmit a nerve impulse
the rate at which a neuron fires
fireable adjective
firer noun

FIRE

3 of 3

abbreviation

finance, insurance, and real estate
Phrases
on fire
1
: being consumed by fire : aflame
The house was on fire.
2
: performing exceedingly well
Of late, center Sami Kelleher and wing Abby Gendron have been on fire. The two have combined for 30 points over the last six games …Matt Williams
3
: eager, burning
He was on fire with enthusiasm.
under fire
1
: exposed to fire from an enemy's weapons
The soldier showed courage under fire.
2
: under attack
The company has come under fire for its discriminatory hiring policies.

Examples of fire in a Sentence

Noun Stay away from the fire. The shack was destroyed by a fire. Two people died in that terrible fire. How did the fire start? We warmed our hands over the fire. She built a fire in the fireplace. The fire went out and he had to light it again. Verb She fired the arrow at the target. He fired several shots at the police. He fired at the police. The gun failed to fire. The soldiers fired on the enemy. The shortstop fired the ball to first base. The angry mob fired rocks at him. The boxer fired a left jab at his opponent's chin. The story fired his imagination. She had to fire several workers.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Live map California fire map: Track this fire live Cal Fire has assigned an incident team to the 11,000-acre Shelley fire in Sikiyou County. Jireh Deng, Los Angeles Times, 16 July 2024 Over time, the motel became rundown and closed in 1996 due to fire code violations. Bebe Hodges, The Enquirer, 15 July 2024
Verb
The shooter, John Hinckley Jr., fired six rounds from a .22-caliber revolver at the president, who had his hand raised, waving to the crowd. Leah Sarnoff, ABC News, 16 July 2024 Kelly fired defensive coordinator Matt House and three other defensive assistants. Bob Holt, arkansasonline.com, 16 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for fire 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fire.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English fȳr; akin to Old High German fiur fire, Greek pyr

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of fire was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near fire

FIRE

fire

Fire

Cite this Entry

“Fire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fire. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

fire

1 of 2 noun
1
: the light and heat and especially the flame produced by burning
2
: eager liveliness : enthusiasm
3
: fuel that is burning (as in a fireplace or stove)
4
: the destructive burning of something (as a building or a forest)
5
: the shooting of guns

fire

2 of 2 verb
fired; firing
1
a
: to set on fire : kindle, ignite
b
: stir entry 1 sense 3, enliven
a story to fire the imagination
all fired up
2
: to dismiss from employment
3
: to cause to explode
fire dynamite
4
a
: to cause to be driven from or as if from a gun : launch
fire an arrow
fire a rocket
b
: to shoot off a firearm : discharge
c
: to throw with speed : hurl
fired the ball to first base
5
a
: to subject to great heat
fire pottery
b
: to feed the fire of
fire a furnace
6
a
: to begin to burn
b
: to have fuel (as in a cylinder of an engine) ignite at the proper time
7
: to transmit a nerve impulse
the neuron fired
firer noun

Medical Definition

fire

1 of 2 noun
often attributive
: fever or inflammation especially from a disease

fire

2 of 2 verb
fired; firing

transitive verb

1
: to cause to transmit a nerve impulse
2
: to sear (the leg of a horse) with a hot iron in order to convert a crippling chronic inflammation into an acute inflammation that will stimulate the natural healing responses of the body

intransitive verb

: to transmit a nerve impulse
the rate at which a neuron fires

Biographical Definition

Fire

biographical name

Andrew Zachary 1959–     American geneticist

More from Merriam-Webster on fire

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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