[ verb mis-fiuh r; noun mis-fahyuh r ]
/ verb mɪsˈfɪər; noun ˈmɪsˌfaɪər /

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

(of a rifle or gun or of a bullet or shell) to fail to fire or explode.
(of an internal-combustion engine) to fail to ignite properly or when expected.
to fail to achieve the desired result, effect, etc.: His criticisms completely misfired.


an act or instance of misfiring.

Nearby words

  1. misfeasor,
  2. misfeature,
  3. misfeed,
  4. misfield,
  5. misfile,
  6. misfit,
  7. misfortune,
  8. misfunction,
  9. misgender,
  10. misgive

Origin of misfire

First recorded in 1745–55; mis-1 + fire

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for misfire

British Dictionary definitions for misfire


/ (ˌmɪsˈfaɪə) /

verb (intr)

(of a firearm or its projectile) to fail to fire, explode, or ignite as or when expected
(of a motor engine or vehicle, etc) to fail to fire at the appropriate time, often causing a backfire
to fail to operate or occur as intended


the act or an instance of misfiring
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 misfire



1752, of a gun, 1905, of an internal combustion engine; see mis- (1) + fire (v.). Related: Misfired; misfiring. The noun is attested from 1839.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper