a state, process, or instance of combustion in which fuel or other material is ignited and combined with oxygen, giving off light, heat, and flame.
a burning mass of material, as on a hearth or in a furnace.
the destructive burning of a building, town, forest, etc.; conflagration.
heat used for cooking, especially the lighted burner of a stove: Put the kettle on the fire.
flashing light; luminous appearance.
brilliance, as of a gem.
burning passion; excitement or enthusiasm; ardor.
liveliness of imagination.
fever or inflammation.
severe trial or trouble; ordeal.
exposure to fire as a means of torture or ordeal.
strength, as of an alcoholic beverage.
a spark or sparks.
the discharge of firearms: enemy fire.
the effect of firing military weapons: to pour fire upon the enemy.
British. a gas or electric heater used for heating a room.
Literary. a luminous object, as a star: heavenly fires.
to set on fire.
to supply with fuel or attend to the fire of (often followed by up):They fired the boiler.
to expose to the action of fire; subject to heat.
to apply heat to in a kiln for baking or glazing; burn.
to heat very slowly for the purpose of drying, as tea.
to inflame, as with passion; fill with ardor (often followed by up).
to light or cause to glow as if on fire.
to discharge (a gun).
to project (a bullet or the like) by or as if by discharging from a gun.
to subject to explosion or explosive force, as a mine.
to cause (a device, machine, etc.) to start working (usually followed by up): I just fired up my new laptop.
to hurl; throw: to fire a stone through a window.
to dismiss from a job.
Veterinary Medicine. to apply a heated iron to (the skin) in order to create a local inflammation of the superficial structures, with the intention of favorably affecting deeper inflammatory processes.
to drive out or away by or as by fire.
to take fire; be kindled.
to glow as if on fire.
to become inflamed with passion; become excited.
to shoot, as a gun.
to discharge a gun: to fire at a fleeing enemy.
to hurl a projectile.
Music. to ring the bells of a chime all at once.
(of plant leaves) to turn yellow or brown before the plant matures.
(of an internal-combustion engine) to cause ignition of the air-fuel mixture in a cylinder or cylinders.
(of a nerve cell) to discharge an electric impulse.
Slang. cool, excellent, exciting, etc.: It would be so fire if we won those tickets!
fire away, Informal. to begin to talk and continue without slackening, as to ask a series of questions: The reporters fired away at the president.
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.
Idioms about fire
between two fires, under physical or verbal attack from two or more sides simultaneously: The senator is between two fires because of his stand on the bill.
build a fire under, Informal. to cause or urge to take action, make a decision quickly, or work faster: If somebody doesn't build a fire under that committee, it will never reach a decision.
catch fire, to create enthusiasm: His new book did not catch fire among his followers.
catch (on) fire, to become ignited; burn: The sofa caught fire from a lighted cigarette.The movie set nearly caught on fire when a fire-related special effect went out of control.
fight fire with fire, to use the same tactics as one's opponent; return like for like.
go through fire and water, to brave any danger or endure any trial: He said he would go through fire and water to win her hand.
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.
play with fire, to trifle with a serious or dangerous matter: He didn't realize that insulting the border guards was playing with fire.
set fire to, : Also set on fire.
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.
- firer, noun
- coun·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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use fire in a sentence
The Honeywell Safe line makes a variety of fire and waterproof lockable storage cabinets, each one made to stand extreme conditions.
The tragic 2018 mudslide in Montecito, California is just one example of a post-fire flood.California wildfires may give way to massive mudslides | Ula Chrobak | September 17, 2020 | Popular-Science
The strong winds and low humidity will continue to feed the fires, particularly in the northeast part of the blaze.West Coast wildfire smoke is visible from outer space | María Paula Rubiano A. | September 16, 2020 | Popular-Science
In an overnight filing, Apple said “Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this court for emergency assistance in putting it out.”Apple says Epic is acting as ‘a saboteur, not a martyr’ in app store challenge | radmarya | September 16, 2020 | Fortune
Make a fireThough it’s engineered to reduce exterior friction, paracord can still make a suitable bow string for the bow and drill fire-starting method.This essential survival tool can save your life 10 different ways | By Tim MacWelch/Outdoor Life | September 15, 2020 | Popular-Science
But what is there more irresponsible than playing with the fire of an imagined civil war in the France of today?Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President | Pierre Assouline | January 9, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
The cameraman was reporting on the factory catching fire when the inevitable happened.
Lady Edith is so sad that her sadness nearly set the whole damned house on fire.‘Downton Abbey’ Review: A Fire, Some Sex, and Sad, Sad Edith | Kevin Fallon | January 5, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Maybe Mary is being more realistic about a second marriage—but is it too much to ask for a little fire?
A fire that he insists is only picking up pace, according to top-secret intelligence briefings.
"A camp-fire would hardly flash and die out like that, Sarge," he answered thoughtfully.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
She got up and stood in front of the fire, having her hand on the chimney-piece and looking down at the blaze.Confidence | Henry James
The fire had been heaped over with earth—to screen it from prying eyes, I suppose, while the good work went on.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
But, as the keel of the boats touched bottom, each boat-load dashed into the water and then into the enemy's fire.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I | Ian Hamilton
The men, whose poniards his sword parried, had recourse to fire-arms, and two pistols were fired at him.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4 | Jane Porter
British Dictionary definitions for fire
the state of combustion in which inflammable material burns, producing heat, flames, and often smoke
a mass of burning coal, wood, etc, used esp in a hearth to heat a room
(in combination): firewood; firelighter
a destructive conflagration, as of a forest, building, etc
a device for heating a room, etc
something resembling a fire in light or brilliance: a diamond's fire
a flash or spark of or as if of fire
the act of discharging weapons, artillery, etc
the shells, etc, fired
a burst or rapid volley: a fire of questions
intense passion; ardour
liveliness, as of imagination, thought, etc
a burning sensation sometimes produced by drinking strong alcoholic liquor
fever and inflammation
a severe trial or torment (esp in the phrase go through fire and water)
catch fire to ignite
draw someone's fire to attract the criticism or censure of someone
to delay firing
to delay or be delayed
no smoke without fire the evidence strongly suggests something has indeed happened
in a state of ignition
ardent or eager
informal playing or performing at the height of one's abilities
open fire to start firing a gun, artillery, etc
play with fire to be involved in something risky
set fire to or set on fire British
to arouse or excite
set the world on fire, British set the Thames on fire or Scot set the heather on fire informal to cause a great sensation
under fire being attacked, as by weapons or by harsh criticism
to discharge (a firearm or projectile) or (of a firearm, etc) to be discharged
to detonate (an explosive charge or device) or (of such a charge or device) to be detonated
(tr) informal to dismiss from employment
(tr) ceramics to bake in a kiln to harden the clay, fix the glaze, etc
to kindle or be kindled; ignite
(tr) to provide with fuel: oil fires the heating system
(intr) to tend a fire
(tr) to subject to heat
(tr) to heat slowly so as to dry
(tr) to arouse to strong emotion
to glow or cause to glow
(intr) (of an internal-combustion engine) to ignite
(intr) (of grain) to become blotchy or yellow before maturity
vet science another word for cauterize
(intr) Australian informal (of a sportsman, etc) to play well or with enthusiasm
a cry to warn others of a fire
the order to begin firing a gun, artillery, etc
- fireable, adjective
- fireless, adjective
- firer, noun
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with fire
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.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.