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

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Synonyms for misfire

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Premier League winner, son of a Premier League legend and – more pertinently – starting goalkeeper for Leicester, who have conceded the fewest goals in the league this season and play at home (good) to Bournemouth (misfiring, a little) this weekend. SI.com, "Premier League Fantasy Football: Who's Hot and Who's Not in Gameweek 4," 29 Aug. 2019 The prolific partnership of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney essentially carried an otherwise misfiring Watford squad in 2015/16. SI.com, "Quique Sanchez Flores: Comparing the Current Watford Squad to the One the Spanish Manager Left," 12 Sep. 2019 Nerve cells misfire, leading to headache and nausea. Aryn Baker, Time, "What It’s Like Living in One of the Hottest Cities on Earth—Where It May Soon Be Uninhabitable," 12 Sep. 2019 This is Richard Sherman's first interception not as a Seahawk The former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback also misfired on a crucial play early in the fourth quarter that could have put the Bucs in front. Jon Becker, The Mercury News, "Jimmy vs. Jameis: Who won quarterback battle in Tampa Bay?," 8 Sep. 2019 But DeVito was forced out of the pocket on fourth-and-8 and misfired badly, giving the ball back to Locksley’s team. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Orange crush: Maryland football unstoppable early in historic 63-20 rout of No. 21 Syracuse," 7 Sep. 2019 Garoppolo misfired on his first two passes - the screen to Mostert and a downfield pass to WR Dante Pettis - but finished by completing his final six passes in team drills. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ practice report: Nick Bosa impresses in camp debut," 27 July 2019 Plus: Trent Grisham arrives earlier than expected, Travis Shaw's struggles continue, and did the Brewers truly misfire with Miley and Smyly? Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers Podcast: Searching for silver linings, talking trade deadline and revisiting a wild 2015 trade with Doug Melvin," 5 Aug. 2019 Ernest Stevens was vindicated on appeal, but decades later his son would say the family’s ordeal taught him that justice can misfire. Connie Cass, Twin Cities, "Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at 99," 16 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dalton's forgettable performance included multiple misfires and force throws to Tyler Boyd. Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati.com, "What we learned: Cincinnati Bengals now 0-7 after losing to Jacksonville Jaguars," 20 Oct. 2019 However moving, the conclusion can’t overcome the series’ many misfires. Nancy Matsumoto, The Atlantic, "Two Ways of Looking at The Terror: Infamy’s Finale," 16 Oct. 2019 The defense then made the necessary stops to close it out, forcing five Washington misfires in the game’s final two minutes. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, "The Connecticut Sun are where they always believed they could be: one win away from a WNBA title," 10 Oct. 2019 Choukair’s two missed field goals, on the heels of a fourth-quarter miss in a 31-28 loss at Hawaii, and last year’s misfire at Nevada, is bringing out cries from fans for another kicker. oregonlive, "David Shaw impressed with Oregon State, offense can’t keep posting one-half shutouts: 10 takeaways from Beavers’ 31-28 loss to Stanford," 29 Sep. 2019 For all their early stalls and misfires, the Aggies didn’t punt until a little less than 10 minutes remained in the game — a 35-yarder to the Lamar 5-yard line by Ray Guy Award winner Braden Mann. Brent Zwerneman, ExpressNews.com, "Texas A&M crushes Lamar 62-3 in final tune-up before SEC play," 14 Sep. 2019 Talk about a marketing misfire, with the Patriots playing in Gillette Stadium. BostonGlobe.com, "The team doesn’t even think it owes fans," 14 Sep. 2019 Although a television reboot is reportedly in the works at Amazon, a fresh theatrical update that hews closely to the source material would surely please the legion of devoted Gunslinger disciples who felt let down by this unfortunate misfire. Matthew Chernov, chicagotribune.com, "10 Stephen King films that deserve remakes," 5 Sep. 2019 The process has been delayed as the US Federal Aviation Administration has raised other concerns, including seeking an additional software fix related to emergency procedures to be use if MCAS misfires. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "Another airline has taken the Boeing 737 Max off its schedule until 2020," 19 Aug. 2019

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 2019

Time Traveler for misfire

The first known use of misfire was in 1752

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More Definitions for misfire


How to pronounce misfire (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on misfire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misfire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with misfire

Spanish Central: Translation of misfire

Nglish: Translation of misfire for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misfire

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something of little or no value

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