Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “backfire”

backfire

verb [I]  /ˈbækˌfɑɪər/ us  

backfire verb [I] (HAVE BAD RESULT)

(of a plan) to have the opposite result from the one you intended: Some hotel owners worry that the idea of attracting more visitors may backfire and make the place less attractive.

backfire verb [I] (MAKE NOISE)

(of an engine) to make a loud noise because the fuel burned too soon
(Definition of backfire from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of backfire?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “backfire” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

throw

to send something through the air with force, especially by a sudden movement of the arm

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More