Nearby words

  1. firbank,
  2. firbolg,
  3. firbolgs,
  4. firdausi,
  5. firdusi,
  6. fire alarm,
  7. fire ant,
  8. fire apparatus,
  9. fire appliance,
  10. fire area


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 formsfir·er, nouncoun·ter·fire, noun, verb (used without object), coun·ter·fired, coun·ter·fir··fire, verb, re·fired, re·fir·ing.un·fired, adjective

Can be confuseddownsize fire lay off rightsize terminate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fire

British Dictionary definitions for fire



the state of combustion in which inflammable material burns, producing heat, flames, and often smoke
  1. a mass of burning coal, wood, etc, used esp in a hearth to heat a room
  2. (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 brilliancea diamond's fire
a flash or spark of or as if of fire
  1. the act of discharging weapons, artillery, etc
  2. the shells, etc, fired
a burst or rapid volleya 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
hang fire
  1. to delay firing
  2. to delay or be delayed
no smoke without fire the evidence strongly suggests something has indeed happened
on fire
  1. in a state of ignition
  2. ardent or eager
  3. informalplaying 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
  1. to ignite
  2. 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
(modifier) astrology of or relating to a group of three signs of the zodiac, Aries, Leo, and SagittariusCompare earth (def. 10), air (def. 20), water (def. 12)


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 fueloil 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

sentence substitute

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

Word Origin and History for fire
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for fire




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 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.