Definition of backfire in English:

backfire

verb

[no object]
Pronunciation /bakˈfʌɪə/
  • 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’
    • ‘‘It just sounded like a car backfiring,’ she said, ‘it sounded like a gunshot.’’
    • ‘A car backfired somewhere, the CD now flew upwards at a fresh angle and speed.’
    • ‘He goes on holiday to the beach in an odd little car that is constantly backfiring, and we follow him as he interacts with the other vacationers at a seaside hotel.’
    • ‘Since the ships were used to being heated up, a sudden blast of hot air on a cold engine could backfire the engine or even destroy vital components.’
    • ‘The operation of the rotary engine means that it is not prone to backfiring on hydrogen, as conventional piston engines are.’
    • ‘The car engine backfired in three sudden bursts as they drove off.’
    • ‘Few problems were encountered until two of the engines started backfiring and within two minutes had quit.’
    • ‘When a backboard shatters, it sounds sort of similar to a gunshot or a car backfiring.’
    • ‘With a sudden flash and the crack of a car backfiring, the machine surged to life again, its high-pitched shriek more earsplitting than ever.’
    • ‘We hear stories of war veterans hitting the ground when they hear a car backfiring.’
    • ‘Dave continued to tighten his screw till abruptly the engine choked, backfired and died.’
    • ‘If I got it wrong (not too often, thankfully) the motor would backfire and try to kick me over the handlebars.’
    • ‘The supersonic jet was hit by an engine surge - like a car backfiring - then diverted to Cardiff airport en route to Heathrow, a spokesman said.’
    • ‘‘Now, I get very panicky at the sound of a loud explosion caused by a tire blowout or the sound of a car backfiring in the parking lot,’ he said jokingly.’
    • ‘When my father turned around to go back in the house, we heard a loud noise like a car backfiring.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My mother could distinguish gunshots from a firecracker or a car backfiring.’
    • ‘Deafening car stereos, honking horns and noises like gun shots ring out as hundreds of drivers deliberately make their car engines backfire.’
    • ‘They ran into trouble in the centre of the city when the bus began backfiring.’
    • ‘The engine coughed, backfired, and a small explosion sent the transport's occupants flying.’
  • 2(of a plan or action) have an opposite and undesirable effect to what was intended.

    ‘overzealous publicity backfired on her’
    • ‘Rork had already risked so much and his plans kept backfiring.’
    • ‘Due to the uprising the plan has backfired on an epic scale.’
    • ‘Yeah, I love how Cale's plans keep backfiring on him.’
    • ‘Jenni is obviously jealous, and it looks like her plan has backfired.’
    • ‘To my glee, Anthony didn't enjoy it much either, so his plan backfired.’
    • ‘Down the road, this policy could backfire badly on the US and on the caretaker government.’
    • ‘However, the wait-and-see policy could backfire if those players manage to secure contracts elsewhere in the meantime.’
    • ‘Never before has a devious little plan backfired so badly.’
    • ‘But that strategy will backfire, because nobody will take the Council's recommendations seriously.’
    • ‘They said the plan backfired when four times as many workers joined the unions than had left.’
    • ‘These plans have backfired, however, leading to growing criticism of the sanctions policy.’
    • ‘Nothing can serious happen to them, as they are locked in their battle, and the worst thing that can happen is their plan backfiring.’
    • ‘I stayed quiet thinking that maybe she would think that she had just been hearing things but my plan backfired.’
    • ‘However, his plan backfired as no one took him up on his offer.’
    • ‘However, his plan backfired and he was hung for treason in 1606.’
    • ‘Gloria knew her plan had backfired and that she would have to come up with something better next time.’
    • ‘His scheme had backfired however, because he failed to check that I had any money in the first place.’
    • ‘I have to say, if the idea was to persuade any of us that her followers are sane and rational people, the plan backfired in spectacular fashion.’
    • ‘This comes with the warning that this plan can backfire spectacularly.’
    • ‘Their plan backfired, and soon the fire grew out of control and they fled in panic.’
    rebound, boomerang, come back, have an adverse effect
    View synonyms

noun

Pronunciation /ˈbakfʌɪə/
  • 1A mistimed explosion in the cylinder or exhaust of a vehicle or engine.

    ‘once the engine is running smoothly, a backfire can be dramatic’
    • ‘And I heard this - it was a shot, but it sounded like a backfire.’
    • ‘My legs were JeIl-O when I walked away from them, and a passing car's backfire nearly stopped my heart.’
    • ‘‘It sounded like a backfire - and then somebody hooted and shouted to me to hop out of the vehicle as it was on fire,’ she said.’
    • ‘On the battlefield, this engine produced a loud backfire when starting, instantly drawing enemy fire.’
    • ‘A slight backfire on starting could burn the engine off the wing!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I handled that okay, but it just so happened that a farmer was running a tractor nearby and managed to produce a loud backfire just as we reached the stream.’
    • ‘However, just a few days later the aircraft suffered serious damage following a fire started by an engine backfire.’
    • ‘As the landing gear was being retracted, he felt a slight hesitation and mild backfire with the left engine.’
  • 2North American A fire started deliberately to stop the progress of an approaching fire by creating a burned area in its path.

    • ‘Most flame weeders on the market are the same ones used by fire fighters to set backfires.’
    • ‘Fires were initially started as backfires to blacken areas adjacent to firelines.’
    • ‘The gusty wind prevented the air tanker drops of retardant, and use of backfires that are key tactics of fire containment.’
    • ‘That's when we lit a backfire, which the raging combination fire drew toward itself automatically.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Around Summerhaven, crews using hand torches, which drip flame to start backfires, and aided by air tankers succeeded on Sunday in keeping the fire away from dozens of surviving homes and an observatory.’
    • ‘Ironically it was a backfire, set to contain the prescribed burn, that was caught by unexpected wind gusts and roared out of control.’

Pronunciation

backfire

Verb/bakˈfʌɪə/

backfire

Noun/ˈbakfʌɪə/