What does backfire mean?

backfire meaning in General Dictionary

To have or encounter a back-fire or back fires stated of an inside burning motor

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  • A fire started before a woodland or prairie fire to burn only from the wind making sure that whenever two fires meet both must go out for lack of gasoline
  • get back to the originator of an action with an undesired impact
  • emit a loud noise due to undergoing a backfire
  • the backward escape of gases and unburned gunpowder after a gun is fired
  • set a managed fire to prevent an advancing woodland to prairie fire
  • a loud sound made by the explosion of fuel in the manifold or fatigue of an interior combustion motor
  • a fire that is set intentionally so that you can slow an approaching forest fire or grassfire by clearing a burned area in its course
  • a miscalculation that recoils on its maker

backfire meaning in Etymology Dictionary

1839, American English, initially "a fire intentionally lit ahead of an advancing prairie fire to deprive it of gas," from right back (adj.) + fire (n.). As a verb in this sense, recorded from 1886. The meaning "premature ignition in an internal-combustion motor" is initially recorded 1897. Of schemes, plans, etc., "to affect the initiator as opposed to the desired object" it is attested from 1912, a figurative use from accidental back-firing of guns.