Definition of backfire in English:

backfire

Line breaks: back|fire

verb

Pronunciation: /bakˈfʌɪə
 
/
[no object]
1(Of a vehicle or its engine) undergo a mistimed explosion in the cylinder or exhaust: a car backfired in the road and shoppers ducked instinctively
More example sentences
  • It was far too loud to be attributed to a car engine backfiring, and immediately drew the clientele to rush like moths against the window.
  • The car engine backfired in three sudden bursts as they drove off.
  • Deafening car stereos, honking horns and noises like gun shots ring out as hundreds of drivers deliberately make their car engines backfire.
Synonyms
2(Of a plan or action) have an opposite and undesirable effect to what was intended: overzealous publicity backfired on her
More example sentences
  • Due to the uprising the plan has backfired on an epic scale.
  • Nothing can serious happen to them, as they are locked in their battle, and the worst thing that can happen is their plan backfiring.
  • Never before has a devious little plan backfired so badly.
Synonyms
rebound, boomerang, come back, have an adverse effect;
have unwelcome repercussions for, cause one to be hoist with one's own petard, be self-defeating, be counterproductive;
fail, miscarry, go wrong
informal blow up in someone's face
archaic redound on

noun

Pronunciation: /ˈbakfʌɪə
 
/
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1A mistimed explosion in the cylinder or exhaust of a vehicle or engine: once the engine is running smoothly, a backfire can be dramatic
More example sentences
  • My favourites are still the RX7 rotaries, which give magnificent flameouts and backfires from the exhaust when the drivers lift their foot off the accelerator.
  • On the battlefield, this engine produced a loud backfire when starting, instantly drawing enemy fire.
  • However, just a few days later the aircraft suffered serious damage following a fire started by an engine backfire.
2North American A fire started deliberately to stop the progress of an approaching fire by creating a burned area in its path.
More example sentences
  • Fires were initially started as backfires to blacken areas adjacent to firelines.
  • Most flame weeders on the market are the same ones used by fire fighters to set backfires.
  • For both fires, portions of the barrens sample area were burned by the backfire flame while other portions were burned by a more intense headfire.

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