hangfire

[ hang-fahyuhr ]
/ ˈhæŋˌfaɪər /

noun

a delay in the detonation of gunpowder or other ammunition, caused by some defect in the fuze.

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Origin of hangfire

First recorded in 1890–95; hang + fire
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Idioms and Phrases with hangfire

hang fire

Delay, as in The advertising campaign is hanging fire until they decide how much to spend on it. This expression originally referred to the 17th-century flintlock musket, where the priming powder ignited but often failed to explode the main charge, a result called hanging fire. [c. 1800]

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