[fahyuh r-ing]


the act of a person or thing that fires.
material for a fire; fuel.
the act of baking ceramics or glass.

Nearby words

  1. firewood,
  2. firework,
  3. fireworks,
  4. fireworm,
  5. firie,
  6. firing glass,
  7. firing line,
  8. firing line, on the,
  9. firing order,
  10. firing party

Origin of firing

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at fire, -ing1

Related formsun·fir·ing, adjective


[fahyuh r]


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.

verb (used with object), fired, fir·ing.

to set on fire.
to supply with fuel; attend to the fire of: 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.
to inspire.
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 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.

verb (used without object), fired, fir·ing.

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.

Verb Phrases

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.
fire off,
  1. to discharge (as weapons, ammunition, etc.): Police fired off canisters of tear gas.
  2. to write and send hurriedly: She fired off an angry letter to her congressman.

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 firing

British Dictionary definitions for firing



the process of baking ceramics, etc, in a kiln or furnacea second firing
the act of stoking a fire or furnace
a discharge of a firearm
something used as fuel, such as coal or wood
US a scorching of plants, as a result of disease, drought, or heat



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 firing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for firing




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 firing


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.