Definition of fire in English:

fire

Syllabification: fire
Pronunciation: /ˈfī(ə)r
 
/

noun

1Combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke: his house was destroyed by fire
More example sentences
  • Suddenly a bright light, fire in fact, flared in front of her face, and a torch was lit.
  • When the kill had been made, Jimmy would light a small heather fire to make a smoke signal.
  • Even at one in the morning, they did not flinch when a roaring explosion of fire and smoke lit the sky behind them.
1.1One of the four elements in ancient and medieval philosophy and in astrology.
More example sentences
  • Jupiter has rulership in the remaining fire sign Sagittarius, so he is the participating ruler.
  • The Emperor is often associated with Aries, which is a strong and assertive astrological fire sign.
  • Like all the fire signs, Leos are idealistic and don't hold back from expressing their passion.
1.2A destructive burning of something: a fire at a hotel
More example sentences
  • At times the reserve staff will start a ‘cold’ fire that is less destructive than latter fires when the grass becomes dry.
  • Many destructive fires start during such times since potential fire hazards can go unnoticed in the relative darkness.
  • One of the biggest and most destructive of those fires is bearing down on another resort town, Lake Arrowhead in San Bernardino County.
Synonyms
flames, burning, combustion;
forest fire, wildfire, brush fire
1.3A collection of fuel, especially wood or coal, burned in a controlled way to provide heat or a means for cooking: our small kettle was kept constantly on the fire
More example sentences
  • Columns of smoke from cooking fires and controlled burns seemed to dangle groundward from the sky.
  • Conditions were primitive and patients arrived suffering from malaria, crocodile or snake bites, or burns from open cooking fires.
  • Under five sawn-off oil barrels fierce wood fires are burning: on top of them are the woks of giants, each as wide as I can stretch my arms.
1.4A burning sensation in the body: the whiskey lit a fire in the back of his throat
More example sentences
  • The minute her hand made contact with the metal a very sharp pain that felt like fire ran up her entire arm.
  • Brad's eyes bugged out and he clutched his face as pain like fire ripped through his head.
1.5Fervent or passionate emotion or enthusiasm: the fire of their religious conviction
More example sentences
  • Tony's fire and enthusiasm has always been a delight, but desire gets you nowhere by itself.
  • It was a great team effort with the lads playing with fire, passion, determination and a tremendous will to win.
  • It was played with passion and fire, by a massive orchestra.
Synonyms
1.6 literary Luminosity; glow: their soft smiles light the air like a star’s fire
2The shooting of projectiles from weapons, especially bullets from guns: a burst of machine-gun fire
More example sentences
  • Four men were cut down by machine-gun fire in a gangland-style shooting.
  • The enemy met descending paratroopers with heavy small arms and machinegun fire.
  • However, in the hail of bullets and recoilless rifle fire, over fifty hostages had been killed.
Synonyms
gunfire, firing, flak, bombardment
2.1Strong criticism or antagonism: he directed his fire against policies promoting American capital flight
More example sentences
  • Hitler himself was occasionally caught in the line of fire of criticism.
  • Despite drawing critical fire and reactionary ire, the show's back for a second series.
  • While he has taken most of the flak, the main fire should be directed at his partner.
Synonyms
hostility, antagonism, animosity
informal flak

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Discharge a gun or other weapon in order to explosively propel (a bullet or projectile): he fired a shot at the retreating prisoners they fired off a few rounds
More example sentences
  • The Vulcan works by firing a projectile at high speed into a landmine, ripping it apart without detonating the explosives.
  • The moment came, and with the twelfth shot fired off, the bullets ceased and Johner drew back behind the barricade to reload his gun.
  • In suppressing the Quebec City protests, Canadian police for the first time used the impact weapon Arwen 37 which fires rubber bullets.
Synonyms
launch, shoot, discharge, let fly with
shoot, discharge, let off, set off
1.1Discharge (a gun or other weapon): another gang fired a pistol [no object]: troops fired on crowds
More example sentences
  • Suddenly he heard the distinct noise of a Gatling gun being fired.
  • He studied the simple pistol grip that fired the main gun.
  • Others have suggested that he held on to the pistol while firing the shotgun one-handed.
1.2 [no object] (Of a gun) be discharged.
More example sentences
  • The Gatling guns all fired simultaneously, tearing through the rear of the vehicle and into the trunk.
  • The attack on Rommel's lines started with over 800 artillery guns firing at the German lines.
  • I first hear his machine guns firing and I turn my head in shock.
1.3Direct (questions or statements, especially unwelcome ones) toward someone in rapid succession: they fired questions at me for what seemed like ages
More example sentences
  • However, he still was not content and he fired one more question at me.
  • For a quiz programme, it was quite a short one, with the questions being fired rapidly, and answered with equal speed by the contestants.
  • As the climax approaches, dozens of reporters run onto the stage, firing questions about the scandal in every direction.
1.4 (fire something off) Send a message aggressively, especially as one of a series: he fired off a letter informing her that he regarded the matter with the utmost seriousness
More example sentences
  • In Tang Hall, 524 people signed objecting letters, and 72 protest letters were fired off to city chiefs.
  • He should do his homework before he fires letters off to your paper.
  • I fired my letter off to the Speaker immediately.
2 informal Dismiss (an employee) from a job: having to fire men who’ve been with me for years you’re fired!
More example sentences
  • This story apparently came to light when an assistant district attorney was fired for settling the case and not informing his superior.
  • The problem is that the paper has fired this trainee journalist presumably due to public pressure and not, one assumes, some facts of his resume.
  • There is a reluctance on the part of broadcast executives to fire presenters who stir up public outrage - because it sells.
Synonyms
dismiss, discharge, give someone their notice, lay off, let go, get rid of, ax, cashier
informal sack, give someone the sack, boot out, give someone the boot, give someone their marching orders, pink-slip
British make redundant
3Supply (a furnace, engine, boiler, or power station) with fuel.
More example sentences
  • We were constructing wooden housing and using charcoal to fire blast furnaces.
  • As a teenager, to help his parents, he'd work double shifts firing engines in rail yards.
  • Because Watt's engine was fired by coal and not water, spinning factories could be located virtually anywhere.
3.1 [no object] (Of an internal combustion engine, or a cylinder in one) undergo ignition of its fuel when started: the engine fired and she pushed her foot down on the accelerator
More example sentences
  • Geordie who was talking to Cameron Shelton brought his conversation to a halt reluctantly, with several false stops like a car that kept on firing after the ignition had been switched on.
  • Getting behind the car, he pushed with gusto until the engine fired.
  • The only practical way to do this is to add some sort of large rocket engine that fires right before impact.
Synonyms
start, get started, get going
3.2 archaic Set fire to: I fired the straw
4Stimulate or excite (the imagination or an emotion): India fired my imagination
More example sentences
  • Allende's vow to carry out a peaceful Socialist revolution fired the imagination of millions.
  • They don't fire the imagination or arouse the passions like the aristocratic love of honor.
  • Meera's blind love for Krishna has fired the imagination of many poets.
Synonyms
4.1Fill (someone) with enthusiasm: in the locker room they were really fired up
More example sentences
  • He was fired with a purpose - to highlight the plight of the poor, suffering masses of India.
  • He was ambitious of a wider effect: he was fired with the possibility that he might work out the proof of an anatomical conception and make a link in the chain of discovery.
  • It is a subject that clearly fires him and he delves enthusiastically into the process of applying for landing slots and the use of cooking oil as a fuel.
4.2 [no object] (fire up) archaic Show sudden anger: If I were to hear anyone disparage you, I would fire up in a flash
5Bake or dry (pottery, bricks, etc.) in a kiln.
More example sentences
  • The factory uses combined electricity and coal-fired kilns for firing the bricks.
  • Pottery in Texas was fired in a groundhog kiln, so named because part of the kiln is buried in the earth.
  • He can do chores for you, such as firing your pottery.
6 Start (an engine or other device): with a flick of his wrist he fired up the chainsaw
More example sentences
  • And what's going on here is there's an actuator in my pocket that is firing that lens.
  • Exactly, and what's going on here is there's an actuator in my pocket that is firing that lens, and that lens is part of a camera.
  • The engine is fed by inline four-barrel carburetors and fired by an MSD ignition.

Origin

Old English fȳr (noun), fȳrian 'supply with material for a fire'; related to Dutch vuur and German Feuer.

Phrases

breathe fire

Be extremely angry: I don’t want an indignant boyfriend on my doorstep breathing fire
More example sentences
  • As a strong police posse stood around watching, district fan club members gathered, forming an angry group and breathing fire at the critical references to their hero.
  • The new health minister entered the ring with the group breathing fire, promising a knock-down, drag-out struggle to the death, vowing there would be no retreat.
  • He joined the race late and went on rightwing talk radio, breathing fire with a slight southern drawl against abortion, divorce

catch fire

Begin to burn.
More example sentences
  • He said the assault happened when the contents of an aerosol sprayed at the boy's head caught fire, burning his eyebrows and hair.
  • After the rectory caught fire and burned down in July 1702, he changed his mind.
  • The moth eventually catches fire, burns and dies; consumed by the very mystery it sought.
Synonyms
ignite, catch light, burst into flames, go up in flames
Become interesting or exciting: the show never caught fire
More example sentences
  • Brian Maloney has an interesting post up about Air America's failure to catch fire with listeners.
  • They're just now getting interested in the campaign, but he hasn't caught fire.
  • I think they've really caught fire and really have done something very, very important.

fire and brimstone

The torments of hell: his father was preaching fire and brimstone sermons
More example sentences
  • Viki looked at the two sympathetically, these two have been through hell fire and brimstone to be with each other.
  • It was on the subject he had been assigned by his apparently normal suburban Catholic school: Hell, and all its fire and brimstone.
  • They had hymns, a sermon with fire and brimstone, and all the usual traditional elements.

fire away

informal Used to give someone permission to begin speaking, typically to ask questions: “I want to clear up some questions that have been puzzling me.” “Fire away.”
More example sentences
  • He showed up and gave a speech that went: ‘I don't have a speech, but if you have questions, fire away.’
  • And she's going to read from that and then we'll fire away some questions.
  • If any of you reading this article has a question, then fire away!

fire in the (or one's) belly

A powerful sense of ambition or determination.
More example sentences
  • It gives me more determination and a bit of fire in my belly to prove people wrong.
  • He is like a prizefighter determined to show that there is still some fire in his belly.
  • If you have a real fire in your belly about an idea, then you need to carry it through’.

fire on all cylinders

Work or function at a peak level of performance: neither conductor nor orchestra are really firing on all cylinders
More example sentences
  • On a technical level, Scorsese is firing on all cylinders, but emotionally the film is a bit distant.
  • Records are there to be broken and Celtic are firing on all cylinders just now.
  • Last night was a great example of a band firing on all cylinders and while we don't think the new record quite survived the transition to a big label intact, live at least, every song is a killer.

go through fire (and water)

Face any peril.
More example sentences
  • He has been through a lot, and when a man is tested, you don't know what he's made of until he really goes through fire.
  • The psalmist exemplifies this attitude and praises God, ‘Israel's deliverer,’ who has ‘given life to our souls,’ for although ‘we went through fire and water… you have led us out to refreshment.’
  • You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.

light a fire under someone

North American Stimulate someone to work or act more quickly or enthusiastically.
More example sentences
  • They can move mountains with their enthusiasm and energy and light a fire under almost anything.
  • I think that lights a fire under the Senators to do their work quickly.
  • Meanwhile, the musical subculture Tee helped build is lighting a fire under more traditional DJs looking to add some new sounds to their sets.

on fire

In flames; burning.
More example sentences
  • The intrepid dad ran outside to find his van was on fire and flames were spreading to the front of his home.
  • A terraced house was on fire, with smoke and flames pouring from the ground and first floor windows.
  • A log in that unsightly pile writhed as if it were already on fire, though the flames had not quite reached it.
Synonyms
burning, alight, ablaze, blazing, aflame, in flames
literary afire
In a state of excitement: Wright is now on fire with confidence
More example sentences
  • The troupe was literally on fire, as they turned, swayed and bent showing amazing skills.
  • The crowd was literally on fire, as couples jived as if there was no tomorrow.
  • After a poor performance in Cork the previous weekend the home side were always going to come out on fire.
Synonyms

open fire

see open.

play with fire

see play.

set fire to

(or set something on fire)
Cause to burn; ignite.
More example sentences
  • We have had fires galore and one family was burnt out when someone set a wheelie bin on fire in their porch.
  • He said his own radio had been burned when their vehicle had been set on fire.
  • Miraculously he never burned himself or set the house on fire.

set the world on fire

Do something remarkable or sensational: the film hasn’t exactly set the world on fire

take fire

British Start to burn.

under fire

Being shot at: observers sent to look for the men came under heavy fire
More example sentences
  • Armies would thus come under fire long before they could even see their enemy, let alone attack his positions.
  • At Pourville, too, the South Saskatchewan Regiment beached without coming under fire.
  • Sgt Cox showed personal courage and skill while under fire from hostile militia.
Being rigorously criticized: the president was under fire from all sides
More example sentences
  • The penny seems to have dropped at head office, which has been under fire from critics for its woeful neglect of its European operations.
  • He is already under fire from critics in his own party for failing to return immediately to Washington once the hijackings got under way.
  • A public schools district plan to teach a bible course is coming under fire from critics.

where's the fire?

informal Used to ask someone why they are in such a hurry or state of excitement.

Derivatives

fireless

adjective
More example sentences
  • ‘Well, here we have it all,’ she said, turning to Wolf wearily, ‘the stuff of the common life: an empty pot, a bed of dry leaves, and soon a fireless hearth.’
  • The author cites Victorian novels showing that a smoky hearth symbolized the warmth and comfort of a loving family, while a fireless house indicated destitution.
  • There are many thousand fireless hearth places in Dublin on the bitterest days of winter. 20,000 families live in one-room tenements.

firer

noun
More example sentences
  • We've had air and soft air pistols, air rifles, blank firers and replica guns surrendered, which is an excellent result.
  • More than half of all the guns relinquished in Greater Manchester were ‘airsoft’ weapons like plastic-pellet firers, or ball-bearing guns and replica firearms.
  • A weapons amnesty, covering firearms, imitations, air weapons and blank firers, together with knives and other weapons, was launched across Surrey this week.

Definition of fire in:

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Pronunciation: fləˈdʒɪʃəs
adjective
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