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[verb mis-fiuh r; noun mis-fahyuh r] /verb mɪsˈfɪər; noun ˈmɪsˌfaɪər/
verb (used without object), misfired, misfiring.
(of a rifle or gun or of a bullet or shell) to fail to fire or explode.
(of an internal-combustion engine) to fail to ignite properly or when expected.
to fail to achieve the desired result, effect, etc.:
His criticisms completely misfired.
an act or instance of misfiring.
Origin of misfire
First recorded in 1745-55; mis-1 + fire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for misfire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The unexpectedness of this misfire positively overcame his faculties.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • He tried again, in case it was just a misfire, but there was still only the click.

    Deathworld Harry Harrison
  • "misfire threw him off," exclaimed the spectators afterward.

    The Adventures of Bobby Orde Stewart Edward White
  • Simultaneously one cylinder starts to misfire, and then another.

  • From the position of the check-lever you realise that there has been a misfire.

  • Very cheap; safe after misfire because oxygen evaporates off.

  • First hardly hurt me at all, and the second one was quite a misfire.

    The Loom of Youth Alec Waugh
  • If it has one misfire in every twenty shots, or so, it does not matter, the great thing being to have it cock easily.

  • Matt's hopes were dashed somewhat by sounds which told him Chub's machine was beginning to misfire.

    Motor Matt's Race Stanley R. Matthews
British Dictionary definitions for misfire


verb (intransitive)
(of a firearm or its projectile) to fail to fire, explode, or ignite as or when expected
(of a motor engine or vehicle, etc) to fail to fire at the appropriate time, often causing a backfire
to fail to operate or occur as intended
the act or an instance of misfiring
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for misfire

1752, of a gun, 1905, of an internal combustion engine; see mis- (1) + fire (v.). Related: Misfired; misfiring. The noun is attested from 1839.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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