Begin a verbal attack, as in In her second letter to the editor she opened fire, saying the reporter had deliberately misquoted her. This idiom alludes to discharging a firearm. [Mid-1800s]
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.