I. fire 1 S1 W1 /faɪə $ faɪr/ BrE AmE noun
[ Language: Old English ; Origin: fyr ]
1 . FLAMES THAT DESTROY THINGS [uncountable and countable] uncontrolled flames, light, and heat that destroy and damage things:
The warehouse was completely destroyed by fire.
Thirty people died in a fire in downtown Chicago.
Police think that the fire was started deliberately.
Rioters set fire to a whole row of stores (=made them start burning) .
2 . FLAMES FOR HEATING/COOKING ETC [countable] burning material used to heat a room, cook food etc, or get rid of things you do not want:
You put up the tent and I’ll make a fire.
Can you help me light the fire?
The fire has almost gone out (=stopped burning) .
They all sat around the camp fire, singing songs.
The fire was still smouldering in the grate (=there was a little smoke and it had almost stopped burning) .
by the fire/in front of the fire
Come and sit by the fire.
They dried their clothes in front of an open fire.
3 . HEATING EQUIPMENT [countable] British English a machine that produces heat to warm a room, using gas or electricity as power:
a gas fire
an electric fire
turn the fire on/off
Turn on the fire, I’m cold.
turn the fire up/down (=make it hotter or colder)
4 . SHOOTING [uncountable] shots fired from a gun, especially many guns at the same time:
Troops opened fire on (=started shooting at) the demonstrators.
These women did vital work, often under enemy fire.
The rebels agreed to hold their fire (=not shoot) .
⇨ be in the line of fire at ↑ line 1 (35)
5 . BE ATTACKED be/come under fire
a) to be severely criticized for something you have done – used in news reports:
Rail chiefs came under fire after raising train fares.
b) to be shot at
be/come under fire from
Our patrol came under fire from rooftop gunmen.
6 . EMOTION [uncountable] a very strong emotion that makes you want to think about nothing else
the fire of religious fanaticism
7 . fire in your belly a strong desire to achieve something:
Ali returned to boxing with a new fire in his belly.
8 . SICK/INJURED be on fire literary a part of your body that is on fire feels very painful
9 . light a fire under somebody American English spoken to do something that makes someone who is being lazy start doing their work
10 . go through fire (and water) (for somebody) old-fashioned to do something very difficult and dangerous for someone
11 . fire and brimstone a phrase describing Hell, used by some religious people
⇨ ↑ ceasefire , ⇨ add fuel to the fire/flames at ↑ add (9), ⇨ fight fire with fire at ↑ fight 1 (18), ⇨ get on like a house on fire at ↑ house 1 (13), ⇨ hang fire at ↑ hang 1 (12), ⇨ play with fire at ↑ play 1 (26), ⇨ set the world on fire at ↑ world 1 (22), ⇨ there’s no smoke without fire at ↑ smoke 1 (5)
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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
▪ start a fire
The fire may have been started by a cigarette.
▪ set fire to something/set something on fire (=make something start burning)
A candle fell over, setting fire to the curtains.
▪ something catches fire (=it starts burning)
The boat caught fire and sank.
▪ put out a fire ( also extinguish a fire formal ) (=stop a fire burning)
Firemen successfully extinguished the fire.
▪ fight a fire (=try to make a fire stop burning)
Further attempts to fight the fire were abandoned.
▪ a fire burns
The fire was burning more strongly every minute.
▪ a fire breaks out (=it starts suddenly)
A fire broke out in the engine room.
▪ a fire goes out (=it stops burning)
After several hours, the fire eventually went out.
▪ a fire rages/blazes (=it burns strongly for a long time over a large area)
Fires were raging in the forest near Magleby.
▪ a fire spreads
The fire spread to the house next door.
▪ something is damaged/destroyed by fire
The school was badly damaged by fire.
▪ be on fire (=be burning)
The whole house was on fire within minutes.
▪ bring a fire under control
Firefighters took more than an hour to bring the fire under control.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + fire
▪ a big/major fire
A big fire was raging at the fuel depot.
▪ a forest fire (=a very large fire in a forest)
Greece has suffered many forest fires this year.
▪ a brush fire (=a very large fire in an area of grass)
There were frequent brush fires during the hot dry summers.
▪ a house fire (=a fire that starts inside a house)
Faulty electrical wiring is being blamed for a house fire.
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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
▪ make/build a fire
He found wood to make a fire.
▪ start/light a fire
It was too damp to light a fire.
▪ put something on the fire
Put another log on the fire.
▪ cook something over a fire
They cooked strips of meat over a wood fire.
▪ a fire smoulders (=a little smoke comes from a fire when it has almost gone out)
The fire was smouldering in the grate.
▪ a fire dies down (=it burns less strongly)
The fire slowly died down.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + fire
▪ an open fire (=a fire in a room that is not inside a stove etc)
Sophie warmed herself by the open fire.
▪ a roaring fire (=a fire that is burning strongly)
I sat by the roaring fire and dried off.
▪ a camp fire (=a fire that you make outside when you are camping)
In the evening we sat around the camp fire.
▪ a coal/wood/log fire
There was a coal fire in the sitting room.
▪ a gas fire
She lit the gas fire and settled in front of the TV.
▪ a real fire (=one that burns wood or coal)
There was a real fire blazing in the fireplace.
▪ the embers of a fire (=pieces of wood, coal etc that have almost been completely burned)
He stared at the glowing embers of the fire.
• • •
▪ fire flames that burn in an uncontrolled way and destroy or damage things:
In April, a fire at the school destroyed the science block.
a forest fire
▪ flames the bright parts of a fire that you see burning in the air:
The flames from the burning building were lighting up the night sky.
▪ blaze written a large and dangerous fire – used especially in news reports:
Firemen fought to keep the blaze under control.
▪ inferno written an extremely large and dangerous fire which is out of control – used especially in news reports:
The entire building was on fire and hundreds of people were trapped in the inferno.
▪ conflagration /ˌkɒnfləˈɡreɪʃ ə n $ ˌkɑːn-/ formal a very large fire that destroys a lot of buildings, trees etc:
The conflagration spread rapidly through the old town.
II. fire 2 S3 W3 BrE AmE verb
1 . SHOOT [intransitive and transitive] to shoot bullets or bombs
Soldiers fired on the crowd.
fire something at somebody
The police fired two shots at the suspects before they surrendered.
fire a gun/weapon/rifle etc (=make it shoot)
the sound of a gun being fired
fire bullets/missiles/rockets etc
Guerrillas fired five rockets at the capital yesterday, killing 23 people.
2 . JOB [transitive] to force someone to leave their job SYN sack British English
She didn’t want to get fired.
fire somebody from something
I’ve just been fired from my job, and I don’t know what to do.
fire somebody for something
The airline fired him for being drunk.
In written English, people usually say that someone is dismissed rather than fired , which is slightly informal:
He was dismissed for being drunk.
3 . EXCITE [transitive] to make someone feel interested in something and excited about it SYN inspire
be fired with enthusiasm
I was fired with enthusiasm to go traveling in Asia.
fire sb’s enthusiasm/imagination
stories of magic and adventure that fire children’s imaginations
4 . QUESTIONS fire questions at somebody to ask someone a lot of questions quickly, often in order to criticize them
5 . wood-fired/gas-fired/coal-fired using wood, gas, or coal as ↑ fuel :
a gas-fired stove
a coal-fired boiler
6 . CLAY [transitive] to bake bricks, clay pots etc in a ↑ kiln :
7 . ENGINE [intransitive] if a vehicle’s engine fires, the petrol is lit to make the engine work
8 . be firing on all cylinders informal to be thinking or doing something well, using all your mental abilities and energy:
When the team’s firing on all cylinders, they can beat the best in the league.
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▪ fire ( also dismiss formal ) to make someone leave their job, especially because they have done something wrong:
He was fired for surfing the Internet during work time.
Harris was caught stealing, and was dismissed from his job.
▪ sack/give somebody the sack British English informal to make someone leave their job, especially because they are not good at it, or because they have done something wrong:
Bates was sacked from his job after the team failed to win any games.
His boss gave him the sack for taking too much time off work.
▪ lay somebody off to make a lot of workers, especially workers in a large factory or organization, leave their jobs, because there is not enough work for them to do, or not enough money to pay their wages:
3000 car workers have been laid off at the factory in Cleveland.
▪ make somebody redundant British English to make someone leave their job because they are no longer needed:
5 staff will be made redundant at the end of this month.
▪ let somebody go to make someone leave their job, Used by employers to avoid saying directly that they are getting rid of people:
We’ve had to let two members of staff go.
▪ discharge to make someone leave their job in the army, air force etc:
Grant had been discharged from the navy for threatening an officer.
▪ ease somebody out to make someone leave their job in a way that makes it seem as if they have chosen to leave:
He had been eased out of office in an attempt to prevent a political crisis.
▪ relieve somebody of their post/position formal to make someone leave their job because they have done something wrong. Used especially to avoid saying this directly, and also when the job is a powerful one:
The colonel and two other senior officers were relieved of their posts.
fire away phrasal verb
[only in imperative] spoken used to tell someone that you are ready to answer questions:
‘Do you mind if I ask you something, Woody?’ ‘Fire away.’
fire back phrasal verb
to quickly and angrily answer a question or remark
fire back at
President Bush has fired back at his critics.
fire something ↔ off phrasal verb
1 . to shoot a bullet, bomb etc into the air:
Chuck reloaded and fired off both barrels.
Mexicans have a tradition of firing off guns to welcome in the new year.
2 . to quickly send an angry letter to someone:
I fired off a furious letter to the editor.
fire somebody ↔ up phrasal verb [usually passive]
to make someone become very excited, interested, or angry:
It was alarming the way she got so fired up about small things.