Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “backfire”

See all translations

backfire

verb [I] uk   /ˌbækˈfaɪər/ us    /-ˈfaɪr/

backfire verb [I] (BAD RESULT)

(of a plan) to have the opposite result from the one you intended: Her plans to make him jealous backfired on her when he started dating her best friend.

backfire verb [I] (ENGINE)

(of an engine) to make a loud noise as a result of fuel burning too early: I was woken by the sound of a truck backfiring.
(Definition of backfire from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © 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

pot luck

anything that is available or is found by chance, rather than something chosen, planned, or prepared

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More