or brush·fire

[ bruhsh-fahyuh r ]
/ ˈbrʌʃˌfaɪər /


limited in scope, area, or importance, as some labor disputes or local skirmishes.

Origin of brush-fire

First recorded in 1945–50

Definition for brush-fire (2 of 2)

brush fire


a fire in an area of bushes, shrubs, or brush, as distinct from a forest fire.
any small but persistent problem, as within a large organization, a department of a government, or between nations: border skirmishes and other international brush fires.

Origin of brush fire

An Americanism dating back to 1770–80 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brush-fire

  • The other man did say, A pit tea it was she could nt have had a little sight to see that brush-fire ahead.

    The Story of Opal|Opal Whiteley

British Dictionary definitions for brush-fire

brush fire


a fire in bushes and scrub
a minor local war
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