Definition of misfire in English:



  • 1(of a gun or missile) fail to discharge or fire properly.

    ‘as she raised her pistol again, it misfired’
    • ‘These are extremely dangerous because if reactivated by an amateur they can misfire or explode.’
    • ‘A dirty gun may misfire or malfunction at exactly the wrong time.’
    • ‘The US military spent most of that day denying that it was their mistake, instead blaming the Iraqis, claiming that Iraqi artillery had misfired.’
    • ‘The gun misfires twice and the man is apprehended.’
    • ‘I put a note with the gun stating that it was ‘out of time’ and misfiring, and needed a refinish on top of the fix.’
    • ‘Imagine the feeling when you engage the enemy and your weapon misfires or jams.’
    • ‘Her husband said the gunman had first attempted to shoot him, but the weapon had misfired.’
    • ‘But the salute, which started slightly late and with one cannon out of action after a round misfired, left him slightly disappointed.’
    • ‘Four times more depleted uranium shells than previously admitted have misfired and caused radioactive contamination at a military range in south-west Scotland.’
    • ‘The ship, engulfed in flames, spiraled down into the smoking ruins of the base, and detonated as a Sidewinder misfired and exploded under the wing.’
    • ‘Anyone with eyes to see will acknowledge that most of our lovely rockets are misfiring.’
    • ‘In Saudi Arabia, it appeared the missiles misfired.’
    • ‘Yet against the Swedes, his ammunition again misfired.’
    • ‘But guards last year found debris near the base fence from a Soviet-made surface-to-air missile that apparently misfired.’
    • ‘It misfired and hammered Boucher with 300 pounds of force.’
    • ‘If the revolver had misfired, then it would certainly be consistent with that explanation.’
    • ‘Worse, there is also the danger that these potentially wayward missiles will misfire and kill innocent civilians.’
    1. 1.1(of an internal combustion engine) undergo failure of the fuel to ignite correctly or at all.
      ‘the car would misfire occasionally from the cold’
      • ‘The last 50 km we nearly ran out of fuel and the engine was misfiring.’
      • ‘When your car misfires a number of times, it triggers a trouble code.’
      • ‘I heard the coach that hit Marisa come round the bend at the far end of the road, it was making a strange noise, it sounded like the engine was misfiring.’
      • ‘It did little other than cause the car to misfire as the temperature decrease seemed to crystallize the fuel.’
      • ‘The engine misfires, the body shudders to a halt.’
      • ‘He said there might have been a bit of water in the fuel causing my engine to misfire when I started the car.’
      • ‘Boland's Subaru lost time with a puncture while a heavy landing caused the car to misfire.’
      • ‘‘The engine misfired,’ one of them informed me after a moment.’
    2. 1.2(of a nerve cell) fail to transmit an electrical impulse at an appropriate moment.
      ‘as these nerves misfire and die, the muscles begin to shrink’
      • ‘What happens in the disease is that the neurons or the brain cells are misfiring and not communicating well.’
      • ‘The actual cause is a mystery, but new brain-scanning techniques suggest that migraines happen because brain cells misfire then shut down, causing the arteries on that side of the brain to contract rapidly and cause pain.’
      • ‘Gambling also causes misfiring of the AAR pathway.’
  • 2(especially of a plan) fail to produce the intended result.

    ‘he didn't know that his plan had misfired’
    • ‘My joy, such as it is, lies in the satisfaction that a carefully thought out plan has wonderfully misfired.’
    • ‘Shiites have nourished that dream ever since their failed revolt against the British in 1920, when the plan of Shiite clerics to dominate Iraq misfired.’
    • ‘It is just that his intentions totally misfire, or, as Greene put it: ‘I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused.’’
    • ‘In the past, some attempts to fight fire with fire have misfired.’
    • ‘He concocts a pilot proposal so offensive, so bound to misfire with test audiences, it's sure to get him canned.’
    • ‘Similarly bold plans have misfired elsewhere, most memorably with the U.S. firm Iridium, whose scheme to provide global satellite phone coverage failed spectacularly.’
    • ‘Because practitioners create safety locally, efforts to forestall errors by isolating practitioners from the system will misfire.’
    • ‘But his efforts misfired, causing huge inconvenience for many innocent users.’
    • ‘The scheme misfired, and instead it was de Burgh who edged des Roches from power.’
    • ‘While certain initiatives have been considered successful, others have seriously misfired.’
    • ‘However admirable the hard work of those who have risked life and limb to give the Iraqi people a fresh start, the overall effort has misfired.’
    • ‘As of August, 2003, revenue was down 25% as expansion plans badly misfired.’
    • ‘I sincerely appreciate the offer of your police, but too many people may cause the plan to misfire.’
    • ‘But it has spectacularly misfired in France, where they simply do not do things that way.’
    • ‘These putative deals in scrap-iron were on a grand enough scale to keep my employer on a permanent high, but something always misfired and the deal would collapse.’
    • ‘It recognizes the tendency of human efforts to misfire; and from this it concludes that the grander the effort to remedy an injustice, the more one should assume it will probably make things worse.’
    • ‘Her plans misfired, she was captured by Henry, and until his death in 1189 was kept in close confinement, carefully watched, in England.’
    • ‘It turned out that even the best laid plans misfired.’
    • ‘It's fair to say a few gags misfire, but the accumulative effect of so many genius lines is very forgiving, allowing the industrious Jones to weave in new gags all the time and constantly keeping his hilarious act fresh.’
    go wrong, go awry, go amiss, be unsuccessful, fail, abort, be abortive, founder, come to nothing, come to grief, meet with disaster, fall through, be ruined, fall flat
    boomerang, rebound, backfire, recoil
    flop, bite the dust, go up in smoke, go phut
    View synonyms


  • 1A failure of a gun or missile to fire correctly.

    ‘the weapons are to be replaced because of problems with misfires’
    • ‘I might add that in my lot of 1936 era ammunition, most of the primers have gone bad so be careful if your experience a misfire or hang fire when using old military stores.’
    • ‘He must have had a misfire or failure to chamber a round because as he pressed the trigger, he shoved the rifle violently down, yanked his face away from the stock, and actually stumbled forward half a step.’
    • ‘Soldiers must know how to load, fire, clear and reduce stoppages and misfires on every crew-served weapon.’
    • ‘I did get a few misfires, so I believe a stronger mainspring or perhaps a longer firing pin or both would take care of this.’
    • ‘But in fact it was a rare misfire and the culprit cartridge was ejected.’
    1. 1.1A failure of fuel to ignite correctly in an internal combustion engine.
      ‘he drove into the pits to have a misfire cured’
      • ‘Giancarlo had a small problem in the fuel cell that caused fuel pressure drops and an engine misfire towards the end of each run.’
      • ‘It could have been an even better result had they not lost time on the first loop of stages with a misfire, which was cured at first service.’
      • ‘We had a vibrating rear hub and a misfire in free practice, but cured those.’