mis·fire | \ˌmis-ˈfī(-ə)r \
misfired; misfiring; misfires

Definition of misfire 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to have the explosive or propulsive charge fail to ignite at the proper time the engine misfired

2 : to fail to fire the gun misfired

3 : to miss an intended effect or objective the new ad campaign misfired


mis·fire | \ˌmis-ˈfī(-ə)r, ˈmis-ˌ\

Definition of misfire (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a failure (as of a cartridge or firearm) to fire

2 : something that misfires

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Synonyms for misfire

Synonyms: Verb


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Examples of misfire in a Sentence


their scheme to rob the bank misfired disastrously and landed them all in jail

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Pistons were scoring much too easily for the Rockets to also misfire from the 3-point line. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets misfire, defend poorly in loss to Pistons," 6 Jan. 2018 But Ben Simmons’ inbounds pass to Embiid misfired as Horford reached in front of Embiid, deflected the pass and raced down the court. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "Sixers have one more shot to extend season with Game 4 vs. Celtics on Monday," 6 May 2018 However, never one to hide his feelings on social media, England legend and BBC's World Cup host Gary Lineker decided to rip apart a misfiring Luis Suarez. SI.com, "Gary Lineker Rips Apart Misfiring Luis Suarez's Awful World Cup Performance With Salah Comparison," 15 June 2018 When the Rockets misfired, Stephen Curry lit up the third quarter as few other can, nearly outscoring the Rockets by himself, making 4 of 5 3-pointers as if to torment the Rockets with a reminder of all that was missing. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets misfire as Warriors surge to Game 7 win," 28 May 2018 Some privacy experts caution against how the technology could misfire and discriminate against certain passengers, including those with physical disabilities. Rachel Siegel, latimes.com, "Uber wants a patent on tech to help guess if a rider is drunk," 12 June 2018 Harris misfired thrice to walk him, bringing up Benintendi for the game's denouement. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Red Sox rough up Will Harris in Astros' loss," 2 June 2018 The rim shrunk for the Warriors in their 12-point fourth quarter, when their 10-point lead disappeared and 15 of their 18 attempts misfired in all (including a combined 2 of 13 shooting from Steph Curry and Kevin Durant). Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "As Rockets even series, Warriors in real trouble for first time since getting Kevin Durant," 23 May 2018 However, the Democrats' deployment of the CRA may misfire since the law is meant to overturn regulations, not the the repeal of regulations, says Randolph May, president of the Free State Foundation. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Net neutrality vote in U.S. Senate seeks to overturn FCC's lighter-touch plan," 16 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Racked by cost-cutting, infighting at Viacom and poor leadership under the late Brad Grey, Paramount's string of misfires got so bad the studio lost $445 million in fiscal 2016. Ryan Faughnder, latimes.com, "Paramount Pictures CEO says struggling studio is 'poised for a renaissance.' Inside Jim Gianopulos' first year," 24 Apr. 2018 For every Batman — a superhero who has inspired numerous sequels and reboots — there’s a misfire that audiences, and studios, would rather forget. Charles Stockdale And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "The 24 most forgettable superheroes in movies," 5 July 2018 Despite the misfire, the project remains on schedule, Cranson said. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "I-696 crews pour 2,500 feet of fresh concrete, rip it all up," 19 June 2018 Then again, so is Mickey Rourke, who saw his comeback thwarted somewhat after this misfire, in which Tony Stark is coming to terms with his new gig. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "We rank every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from worst to best," 6 July 2018 Mac McCullough, who has produced the show for the last two decades, and his crew had their hands full with misfires and some that didn’t fire at all. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty fireworks go on despite rain," 5 July 2018 Certain misfires can linger in a player’s mind for years, and that’s likely to be the case for Peru’s Pedro Aquino, who had a shot to give his team a draw with France. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Brazil’s win sweet redemption for Neymar, who finally scores," 22 June 2018 The misfire feels even more meaningful in San Diego. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "World Cup miss stymies traction in San Diego, U.S.," 19 June 2018 Like Padgett, Hahn was careful not to feel too disgruntled after early misfires. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "Collegiate golfers Wells Padgett and Jordan Hahn lead Southwestern Amateur golf tournament," 15 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of misfire


1752, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for misfire

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for misfire

The first known use of misfire was in 1752

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More Definitions for misfire



English Language Learners Definition of misfire

of an engine : to fail to work properly because the fuel mixture burns at the wrong time

of a gun : to fail to fire properly : to fail to shoot a bullet

: to fail to have an intended effect : to fail to work properly

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Comments on misfire

What made you want to look up misfire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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