fire on all cylinders

Also, hit or click on all cylinders. Function very well, as in Once we figured out how to use the new software, the department was firing on all cylinders, or “So the best infielder takes time to fit into the infield of a Big League club and have it hit on all four cylinders again” (Christy Mathewson, Pitching in a Pinch, 1912). This term transfers the functioning of an internal combustion engine, which works best when all its cylinders ignite, to broader use. [Early 1900s]

Nearby words

  1. fire irons,
  2. fire island,
  3. fire line,
  4. fire marshal,
  5. fire off,
  6. fire opal,
  7. fire pink,
  8. fire point,
  9. fire pot,
  10. fire power

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