backfire :

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  • n  the backward escape of gases and unburned gunpowder after a gun is fired
  • n  a loud noise made by the explosion of fuel in the manifold or exhaust of an internal combustion engine
  • 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
  • n  a miscalculation that recoils on its maker
  • v  come back to the originator of an action with an undesired effect
    Your comments may backfire and cause you a lot of trouble
  • v  emit a loud noise as a result of undergoing a backfire
    My old car backfires all the time
  • v  set a controlled fire to halt an advancing forest to prairie fire

  • This year's most significant Nazi propaganda trial abruptly backfired last week.
  • Would the move backfire? While many families of MIA combatants felt betrayed, the White House knew that the bulk of Americans would approve.
  • If so, swift-boating could backfire.
News & Articles

  • When frugality goes too far
    Many Americans have embraced frugality in recent years, but sometimes money-saving strategies backfire when taken to extremes.
    June 11, 2013 - MSN
  • 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 ...
    June 11, 2013 - Inc Magazine
  • 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.
    June 9, 2013 - 9 News Denver

  • Bert van Marwijk in The Associated Press
    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."
  • Shami Chakrabarti in Indymedia UK
    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."
  • John Engler in
    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...

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