mis·​fire | \ ˌmis-ˈfī(-ə)r How to pronounce misfire (audio) \
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 How to pronounce misfire (audio) , ˈmis-ˌfī(-ə)r \

Definition of misfire (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a failure (as of a cartridge or firearm) to fire
2 : something that misfires

Synonyms for misfire

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of misfire in a Sentence

Verb their scheme to rob the bank misfired disastrously and landed them all in jail
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Jackson drove them to the Cleveland 30-yard line only to misfire on another attempt to Andrews, this one settling into the arms of Browns safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, 29 Nov. 2021 But Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil missed open nets early, setting a tone as the Revolution continued to misfire to the end. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Nov. 2021 In both crashes, incorrect data from a faulty sensor caused the MCAS to misfire, forcing the planes to nose down repeatedly. Mina Kaji, ABC News, 14 Oct. 2021 Platforms themselves can turn the dial down on engagement with toxic content, although even these adjustments can misfire. Evelyn Douek, Wired, 2 June 2021 The best season of his career is threatening to end on a disappointing note as the winner of the Most Improved Player award has continued to misfire throughout this series. Brian Mahoney, ajc, 1 June 2021 Another is small-fiber neuropathy, a condition in which the body’s nerves begin to misfire and can die off, causing pain, fatigue and disruption to basic bodily functions like breathing. New York Times, 21 Jan. 2021 The Thunder continued to misfire, hitting just 41.7% overall and going only 3 for 15 on 3-pointers. Brian Mahoney, Star Tribune, 1 Sep. 2020 The Thunder continued to misfire, hitting just 41.7% overall and going only 3 for 15 on 3-pointers. Brian Mahoney, Star Tribune, 1 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Aside from Jone s’ misfire, the closest the Blackhawks came to scoring was on a shot by defenseman Jake McCabe. San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Nov. 2021 Legions of fans hooked on the drama about blood-spatter analyst/serial killer Dexter Morgan blasted the finale as a bewildering, open-ended misfire. Los Angeles Times, 8 Jan. 2022 That tack proves to be a complete misfire, as writer-director Johannes Roberts supplies plenty of fan service but scarce coherent plotting and even fewer scares. Nick Schager, Variety, 22 Nov. 2021 Poeltl got started early in cleaning the offensive glass against New Orleans, rebounding a McDermott misfire on the game’s first possession. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 14 Dec. 2021 The soundtrack was wildly successful but the film itself was perceived as a misfire. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 30 Sep. 2021 There were thunderous cheers for every shot that went down, palpable groans over a misfire. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 Fearing another misfire, Kost scrambled down the ridge for safety. Bob P. Brown, chicagotribune.com, 22 Nov. 2021 Blame for the Eternals misfire seems to be spread around, with some critics pointing to the source material, others the oppressive Marvel house style. Nate Jones, Vulture, 5 Nov. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of misfire


1752, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About misfire

Time Traveler for misfire

Time Traveler

The first known use of misfire was in 1752

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near misfire




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for misfire

Last Updated

12 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Misfire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misfire. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for misfire



English Language Learners Definition of misfire

: to fail to work properly because the fuel mixture burns at the wrong time
: to fail to fire properly : to fail to shoot a bullet
: to fail to have an intended effect : to fail to work properly

More from Merriam-Webster on misfire

Nglish: Translation of misfire for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!