backfire backfire  /ˈbæk ˌfaɪr/


  1. (n) the backward escape of gases and unburned gunpowder after a gun is fired
  2. (n) a loud noise made by the explosion of fuel in the manifold or exhaust of an internal combustion engine
  3. (n) a fire that is set intentionally in order to slow an approaching forest fire or grassfire by clearing a burned area in its path
  4. (n) a miscalculation that recoils on its maker
  5. (v) come back to the originator of an action with an undesired effect
  6. (v) emit a loud noise as a result of undergoing a backfire
  7. (v) set a controlled fire to halt an advancing forest to prairie fire



  1. If so, swift-boating could backfire.
  2. Barnes' confidence is based on the district's voting history, but treating this election year as typical could backfire.


  1. When frugality goes too far

    Many Americans have embraced frugality in recent years, but sometimes money-saving strategies backfire when taken to extremes.
    on June 12, 2013     Source: MSN

  2. 5 Surefire Ways to Screw Up Employee Incentives

    Here are the most common ways that carrot you're dangling can backfire. Incentive plans are designed to reward specific behaviors, but they're often ineffective at best and harmful at worst. Here are five common ways employee incentive plans can produce the wrong results: 1. You foster the wrong outcome. What you reward drives very specific behaviors, often with unintended consequences. Say your ...
    on June 11, 2013     Source: Inc Magazine

  3. Reverse mortgages backfire on some seniors

    USA TODAY - As America's population ages, the hard sell is on for reverse mortgages. Promising happier days ahead, the former "Fonz," actor Henry Winkler, is giving the hard sell in relentless television ads. But the housing crash and the fiscal state of today's seniors are causing many of these loans to backfire.
    on June 9, 2013     Source: 9 News Denver


  1. "We are good at playing football, we know that. We are very creative," Van Marwijk said. "I've said about 100,000 times that sometimes we're arrogant. When we play too well we may become too arrogant and that can backfire."
    on Jun 15, 2010 By: Bert van Marwijk Source: The Associated Press

  2. Shami Chakrabarti director of Liberty said "This looks like a political machismo, a legacy moment. Stopping and questioning anyone you like will backfire because people will be being criminalised."
    on May 27, 2007 By: Shami Chakrabarti Source: Indymedia UK

  3. Association president John Engler said his organization is "very concerned that the new 'Buy American' provisions in the bill will potentially backfire on the United States and end up harming American workers and companies across the entire US...
    on Feb 3, 2009 By: John Engler Source:

Word of the Day
pivotal pivotal
/ˈpɪ və təl /