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


or brush·fire

[bruhsh-fahyuh r]


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

Origin of brush-fire

First recorded in 1945–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brushfire

Contemporary Examples of brushfire

British Dictionary definitions for brushfire

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

Word Origin and History for brushfire

1850, from brush (n.2) + fire (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper