Definition of misfire in US English:



[no object]
Pronunciation /ˌmisˈfī(ə)r//ˌmɪsˈfaɪ(ə)r/
  • 1(of a gun or missile) fail to discharge or fire properly.

    • ‘Yet against the Swedes, his ammunition again misfired.’
    • ‘These are extremely dangerous because if reactivated by an amateur they can misfire or explode.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the salute, which started slightly late and with one cannon out of action after a round misfired, left him slightly disappointed.’
    • ‘In Saudi Arabia, it appeared the missiles misfired.’
    • ‘Her husband said the gunman had first attempted to shoot him, but the weapon had misfired.’
    • ‘Imagine the feeling when you engage the enemy and your weapon misfires or jams.’
    • ‘Worse, there is also the danger that these potentially wayward missiles will misfire and kill innocent civilians.’
    • ‘The gun misfires twice and the man is apprehended.’
    • ‘The US military spent most of that day denying that it was their mistake, instead blaming the Iraqis, claiming that Iraqi artillery had misfired.’
    • ‘A dirty gun may misfire or malfunction at exactly the wrong time.’
    • ‘Four times more depleted uranium shells than previously admitted have misfired and caused radioactive contamination at a military range in south-west Scotland.’
    • ‘But guards last year found debris near the base fence from a Soviet-made surface-to-air missile that apparently misfired.’
    • ‘Anyone with eyes to see will acknowledge that most of our lovely rockets are misfiring.’
    • ‘If the revolver had misfired, then it would certainly be consistent with that explanation.’
    • ‘It misfired and hammered Boucher with 300 pounds of force.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘Boland's Subaru lost time with a puncture while a heavy landing caused the car to misfire.’
      • ‘It did little other than cause the car to misfire as the temperature decrease seemed to crystallize the fuel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘The engine misfired,’ one of them informed me after a moment.’
      • ‘The engine misfires, the body shudders to a halt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said there might have been a bit of water in the fuel causing my engine to misfire when I started the car.’
    2. 1.2 (especially of a plan) fail to produce the intended result.
      ‘the killer didn't know that his plan had misfired’
      • ‘Her plans misfired, she was captured by Henry, and until his death in 1189 was kept in close confinement, carefully watched, in England.’
      • ‘As of August, 2003, revenue was down 25% as expansion plans badly misfired.’
      • ‘The scheme misfired, and instead it was de Burgh who edged des Roches from power.’
      • ‘It turned out that even the best laid plans misfired.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But his efforts misfired, causing huge inconvenience for many innocent users.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘While certain initiatives have been considered successful, others have seriously misfired.’
      • ‘In the past, some attempts to fight fire with fire have misfired.’
      • ‘I sincerely appreciate the offer of your police, but too many people may cause the plan to misfire.’
      • ‘He concocts a pilot proposal so offensive, so bound to misfire with test audiences, it's sure to get him canned.’
      • ‘My joy, such as it is, lies in the satisfaction that a carefully thought out plan has wonderfully 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.’
      • ‘But it has spectacularly misfired in France, where they simply do not do things that way.’
      • ‘Because practitioners create safety locally, efforts to forestall errors by isolating practitioners from the system will misfire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Similarly bold plans have misfired elsewhere, most memorably with the U.S. firm Iridium, whose scheme to provide global satellite phone coverage failed spectacularly.’
      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
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 (of a nerve cell) fail to transmit an electrical impulse at an appropriate moment.
      • ‘Gambling also causes misfiring of the AAR pathway.’
      • ‘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.’


Pronunciation /ˈmisˌfī(ə)r//ˈmɪsˌfaɪ(ə)r/
  • A failure of a gun or missile to fire correctly or of fuel in an internal combustion engine to ignite.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Soldiers must know how to load, fire, clear and reduce stoppages and misfires on every crew-served weapon.’
    • ‘But in fact it was a rare misfire and the culprit cartridge was ejected.’
    • ‘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.’