Backfire - definition, pronunciation, transcription

Amer.  |ˌbækˈfaɪər|  American pronunciation of the word backfire
Brit.  |ˌbækˈfaɪə(r)|  British pronunciation of the word backfire


- the backward escape of gases and unburned gunpowder after a gun is fired (syn: blowback)
- a loud noise made by the explosion of fuel in the manifold or exhaust of an internal combustion engine
- a fire that is set intentionally in order to slow an approaching forest fire or grassfire by clearing a burned area in its path
- a miscalculation that recoils on its maker (syn: boomerang)


- come back to the originator of an action with an undesired effect(syn: backlash, recoil)
- emit a loud noise as a result of undergoing a backfire
- set a controlled fire to halt an advancing forest to prairie fire

Examples plan to throw her a surprise party backfired when she ended up sobbing that everyone had forgotten her birthday...

She heard a small explosion like the backfire of a car.

The company's new policy backfired when a number of employees threatened to quit.

At other points they back-fired, taking advantage of every change of wind.

Your comments may backfire and cause you a lot of trouble

My old car backfires all the time

Word forms

I/you/we/they: backfire
he/she/it: backfires
present participle: backfiring
past tense: backfired
past participle: backfired
See also:  WebsterWiktionaryLongman