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[shoo r-fahyuh r, shur-] /ˈʃʊərˌfaɪər, ˈʃɜr-/
sure to work; foolproof:
a surefire moneymaking scheme.
Origin of surefire
First recorded in 1915-20; sure + fire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sure-fire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That mind of his is too sure-fire to hang on so desperately to a mere dream.

  • “No amateur screen actress—and that is all Wonota is as yet—is ever a ‘sure-fire hit’, as you call it,” said the practical Ruth.

  • “The program pictures are sure-fire, I suppose,” the girl admitted.

  • He could picture her glutinous satisfaction as she re-read her scenario and gloated over its sure-fire qualities.

    The Girl on the Boat Pelham Grenville Wodehouse
  • It's a sure-fire case against you, Larry—and it'll mean five to ten years if you're caught.

British Dictionary definitions for sure-fire


(usually prenominal) (informal) certain to succeed or meet expectations; assured
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 sure-fire



also sure-fire, by 1864, American English, from sure + fire (v.). Originally of rifles.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sure-fire



Unfailing; certain to succeed, happen, etc: His election is a sure-fire thing (1901+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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