Idioms

Origin of fire

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English fȳr; cognate with Old Norse fūrr, German Feuer, Greek pŷr (see pyro-); (v.) Middle English firen to kindle, inflame, derivative of the noun

Related forms

fir·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

Can be confused

downsize fire lay off rightsize terminate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for fight fire with fire

fire

/ (faɪə) /

noun


verb

sentence substitute

a cry to warn others of a fire
the order to begin firing a gun, artillery, etc

Derived Forms

fireable, adjectivefireless, adjectivefirer, noun

Word Origin for fire

Old English fӯr; related to Old Saxon fiur, Old Norse fūrr, Old High German fūir, Greek pur
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

Medicine definitions for fight fire with fire

fire

[ fīr ]

v.

To generate an electrical impulse. Used of a neuron.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with fight fire with fire (1 of 2)

fight fire with fire

Combat an evil or negative circumstances by reacting in kind. For example, When the opposition began a smear campaign, we decided to fight fire with fire. Although ancient writers from Plato to Erasmus cautioned that one should not add fire to fire, this warning is not incorporated in the idiom, which was first recorded in Shakespeare's Coriolanus.


Idioms and Phrases with fight fire with fire (2 of 2)

fire

In addition to the idioms beginning with fire

  • fire away
  • fire off
  • fire on all cylinders
  • fire up

also see:

  • 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.


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.