r) KEY NOUN:
- A rapid, persistent chemical change that releases heat and light and is accompanied by flame, especially the exothermic oxidation of a combustible substance.
- Burning fuel or other material: a cooking fire; a forest fire.
- Burning intensity of feeling; ardor. See Synonyms at passion.
- Luminosity or brilliance, as of a cut and polished gemstone.
- Liveliness and vivacity of imagination; brilliance.
- A severe test; a trial or torment.
- A fever or bodily inflammation.
- The discharge of firearms or artillery: heard the fire of cannon.
- The launching of a missile, rocket, or similar ballistic body.
- Discharged bullets or other projectiles: subjected enemy positions to heavy mortar fire; struck by rifle fire.
- Intense, repeated attack or criticism: answered the fire from her political critics.
, fires VERB: tr.
- To cause to burn; ignite.
- To light (something) up as if by fire: The morning sun fired the tops of the trees.
- To add fuel to (something burning).
- To maintain or fuel a fire in.
- To start (a fuel-burning engine). Often used with up.
- To bake in a kiln: fire pottery.
- To dry by heating.
- To arouse the emotions of; make enthusiastic or ardent. Often used with up: warriors who were fired by patriotism.
- To discharge (a firearm, for example).
- To detonate (an explosive).
- To propel (a projectile); launch (a missile).
- Informal To throw with force and speed; hurl: fire a ball at a batter.
- To utter or direct with insistence: fired questions at the senator.
- Games To score (a number) in a game or contest.
- To discharge from a position; dismiss. See Synonyms at dismiss.
PHRASAL VERBS: fire away Informal
- To become ignited; flame up.
- To become excited or ardent.
- To become angry or annoyed.
- To tend a fire.
- To shoot a weapon: aimed and fired at the target.
- To detonate an explosive.
- To ignite fuel, as in an engine.
- Informal To project or hurl a missile: The pitcher wound up and fired.
- Physiology To generate an electrical impulse. Used of a neuron.
- To become yellowed or brown before reaching maturity, as grain.
- To start to talk or ask questions.
IDIOMS: between two fires
- To utter or ask rapidly.
- To write and send (a letter, for example) in haste.
- Being attacked from two sources or sides simultaneously.
start/light/build a fire under Slang
- Ignited; ablaze.
- Filled with enthusiasm or excitement.
- To urge or goad to action.
- Exposed or subjected to enemy attack.
- Exposed or subjected to critical attack or censure: an official who was under fire for mismanagement.
Middle English fir
, from Old English fr
; see paw
in Indo-European rootsOTHER FORMS:firea·ble(Adjective)
, firer(Noun)WORD HISTORY:
Primitive Indo-European had pairs of words for some very common things, such as water or fire. Typically, one word in the pair was active, animate, and personified; the other, impersonal and neuter in grammatical gender. In the case of the pair of words for "fire," English has descendants of both, one inherited directly from Germanic, the other borrowed from Latin. Our word fire
goes back to the neuter member of the pair. In Old English "fire" was fr,
from Germanic *fr.
The Indo-European form behind *fr
whence also the Greek neuter noun pr,
the source of the prefix pyro-.
The other Indo-European word for fire appears in ignite,
which is derived from the Latin word for fire, ignis,
from Indo-European *egnis.
The Russian word for fire, ogon'
(stem form ogn-
), and the Sanskrit agni-,
"fire" (deified as Agni, the god of fire), also come from *egnis,
the active, animate, and personified word for fire.