American English

Definition of fire noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    something burning
  1. 1[uncountable] the flames, light, and heat, and often smoke, that are produced when something burns Most animals are afraid of fire.
  2. 2[uncountable, countable] flames that are out of control and destroy buildings, trees, etc. The car was on fire. The warehouse has been badly damaged by fire. Several youths had set fire to the police car (= had made it start burning). A candle had set the curtains on fire. These thatched roofs frequently catch fire (= start to burn). forest fires Five people died in a house fire last night. A small fire started in the kitchen. Fires were breaking out everywhere. It took two hours to put out the fire (= stop it from burning).
  3. for heating/cooking
  4. 3[countable] a pile of burning fuel, such as wood or coal, used for cooking food or heating a room to make/build a fire a log/charcoal fire Sam lit a fire to welcome us home. Come and get warm by the fire. We sat in front of a roaring fire. see also bonfire, campfire
  5. from guns
  6. 4[uncountable] shots from guns a burst of machine-gun fire to return fire (= to fire back at someone who is shooting at you) The gunmen opened fire on (= started shooting at) the police. Their vehicle came under fire (= was being shot at). He ordered his men to hold their fire (= not to shoot). A young girl was in the line of fire (= between the person shooting and what he/she was shooting at). I'll give you covering fire while you try to escape.
  7. anger/enthusiasm
  8. 5[uncountable] very strong emotion, especially anger or enthusiasm Her eyes were full of fire. The fire seemed to die in him when his wife left.
  9. Idioms
    a ball of fire (informal)
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    a person who is full of energy and enthusiasm
    a baptism of fire
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    a difficult introduction to a new job or activity
    be/come under/draw fire
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    to be criticized severely for something you have done The bank president has come under fire from all sides.
    fight fire with fire
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    to use similar methods in a fight or an argument to those your opponent is using
    get along like a house on fire (informal)
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    (of people) to become friends quickly and have a very friendly relationship
    hang/hold fire
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    to delay or be delayed in taking action The project had hung fire for several years for lack of funds.
    have several, etc. irons in the fire
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    to be involved in several activities or areas of business at the same time, hoping that at least one will be successful
    giving you a painful burning feeling He couldn't breathe. His chest was on fire.
    out of the frying pan into the fire (saying)
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    from a bad situation to one that is worse
    play with fire
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    to act in a way that is not sensible and take dangerous risks
    set the world on fire (informal)
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    (usually used in negative sentences) to be very successful and gain the admiration of other people He's never going to set the world on fire with his paintings.
    where there's smoke, there's fire (saying)
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    if something bad is being said about someone or something, it usually has some truth in it
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: fire