verb (used with object), fired, fir·ing.
verb (used without object), fired, fir·ing.
- to discharge (as weapons, ammunition, etc.): Police fired off canisters of tear gas.
- to write and send hurriedly: She fired off an angry letter to her congressman.
- Also catch on fire. to become ignited; burn: The sofa caught fire from a lighted cigarette.
- to create enthusiasm: His new book did not catch fire among his followers.
- to be delayed in exploding, or fail to explode.
- to be undecided, postponed, or delayed: The new housing project is hanging fire because of concerted opposition.
- to fail to explode or discharge, as a firearm.
- to fail to produce the desired effect; be unsuccessful: He repeated the joke, but it missed fire the second time.
- ignited; burning; afire.
- eager; ardent; zealous: They were on fire to prove themselves in competition.
- to cause to burn; ignite.
- to excite; arouse; inflame: The painting set fire to the composer's imagination.
- to become ignited; burn.
- to become inspired with enthusiasm or zeal: Everyone who heard him speak immediately took fire.
- under attack, especially by military forces.
- under censure or criticism: The school administration is under fire for its policies.
Origin of fire
Related formsfir·er, nouncoun·ter·fire, noun, verb (used without object), coun·ter·fired, coun·ter·fir·ing.re·fire, verb, re·fired, re·fir·ing.un·fired, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for catch fire
- a mass of burning coal, wood, etc, used esp in a hearth to heat a room
- (in combination)firewood; firelighter
- the act of discharging weapons, artillery, etc
- the shells, etc, fired
- to delay firing
- to delay or be delayed
- in a state of ignition
- ardent or eager
- informal playing or performing at the height of one's abilities
- to ignite
- to arouse or excite
Derived Formsfireable, adjectivefireless, adjectivefirer, noun
Word Origin for fire
Medicine definitions for catch fire
Idioms and Phrases with catch fire (1 of 2)
Be ignited, as in This wood is dry enough to catch fire. [c. 1600] Also see set on fire.
Become inflamed with enthusiasm or passion, as in His ideas caught fire all over the country. [Early 1700s]
Idioms and Phrases with catch fire (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with fire
- fire away
- fire off
- fire on all cylinders
- fire up
- add fuel to the fire
- ball of fire
- baptism of fire
- catch fire
- caught in the cross-fire
- draw fire
- fat is in the fire
- fight fire with fire
- get on (like a house afire)
- hang fire
- hold one's fire
- hold someone's feet to the fire
- irons in the fire
- light a fire under
- line of fire
- miss fire
- no smoke without fire
- on fire
- open fire
- out of the frying pan into the fire
- play with fire
- set on fire
- set the world on fire
- spread like wildfire
- trial by fire
- under fire
- where's the fire
Also see underfiring.