What does fire mean?

Definitions for fire

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word fire.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. firenoun

    the event of something burning (often destructive)

    "they lost everything in the fire"

  2. fire, firingnoun

    the act of firing weapons or artillery at an enemy

    "hold your fire until you can see the whites of their eyes"; "they retreated in the face of withering enemy fire"

  3. fire, flame, flamingnoun

    the process of combustion of inflammable materials producing heat and light and (often) smoke

    "fire was one of our ancestors' first discoveries"

  4. firenoun

    a fireplace in which a relatively small fire is burning

    "they sat by the fire and talked"

  5. firenoun

    once thought to be one of four elements composing the universe (Empedocles)

  6. ardor, ardour, fervor, fervour, fervency, fire, fervidnessnoun

    feelings of great warmth and intensity

    "he spoke with great ardor"

  7. firenoun

    fuel that is burning and is used as a means for cooking

    "put the kettle on the fire"; "barbecue over an open fire"

  8. firenoun

    a severe trial

    "he went through fire and damnation"

  9. fire, attack, flak, flack, blastverb

    intense adverse criticism

    "Clinton directed his fire at the Republican Party"; "the government has come under attack"; "don't give me any flak"

  10. open fire, fireverb

    start firing a weapon

  11. fire, dischargeverb

    cause to go off

    "fire a gun"; "fire a bullet"

  12. fireverb

    bake in a kiln so as to harden

    "fire pottery"

  13. displace, fire, give notice, can, dismiss, give the axe, send away, sack, force out, give the sack, terminateverb

    terminate the employment of; discharge from an office or position

    "The boss fired his secretary today"; "The company terminated 25% of its workers"

  14. fire, discharge, go offverb

    go off or discharge

    "The gun fired"

  15. fireverb

    drive out or away by or as if by fire

    "The soldiers were fired"; "Surrender fires the cold skepticism"

  16. arouse, elicit, enkindle, kindle, evoke, fire, raise, provokeverb

    call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)

    "arouse pity"; "raise a smile"; "evoke sympathy"

  17. burn, fire, burn downverb

    destroy by fire

    "They burned the house and his diaries"

  18. fuel, fireverb

    provide with fuel

    "Oil fires the furnace"


  1. Fireverb

    to dismiss from employment, a post, or other job; to cause (a person) to cease being an employee; -- of a person. The act of firing is usually performed by that person's supervisor or employer.

  2. Fireverb

    to light up the fires of, as of an engine; also, figuratively, to start up any machine. -- 2. to render enthusiastic; -- of people.


  1. firenoun

    A (usually self-sustaining) chemical reaction involving the bonding of oxygen with carbon or other fuel, with the production of heat and the presence of flame or smouldering.

  2. firenoun

    Something that has produced or is capable of producing this chemical reaction, such as a campfire.

    We sat around the fire singing songs and telling stories.

  3. firenoun

    The often accidental occurrence of fire in a certain place leading to its full or partial destruction.

  4. firenoun

    One of the four basic elements.

  5. firenoun

    One of the five basic elements (see Wikipedia article on the Classical elements).

  6. firenoun

    A heater or stove used in place of a real fire (such as an electric fire).

  7. firenoun

    The elements necessary to start a fire.

    The fire was laid and needed to be lit.

  8. firenoun

    The in-flight bullets or other projectiles shot from a gun.

    The fire from the enemy guns kept us from attacking.

  9. firenoun

    A button (of a joypad, joystick or similar device) whose only or main current function is that when it is pressed causes a video game character to fire a weapon.

  10. fireverb

    To set (something) on fire.

  11. fireverb

    To heat without setting on fire, as ceramic, metal objects, etc.

  12. fireverb

    To drive away by setting a fire.

  13. fireverb

    To terminate the employment contract of (an employee), especially for cause (such as misconduct or poor performance).

  14. fireverb

    To shoot (a device that launches a projectile or a pulse of stream of something).

  15. fireverb

    To shoot a gun, a cannon or a similar weapon.

  16. fireverb

    To shoot; to attempt to score a goal.

  17. fireverb

    To cause an action potential in a cell.

    When a neuron fires, it transmits information.

  18. fireverb

    To forcibly direct (something).

    He answered the questions the reporters fired at him.

  19. fireverb

    To initiate an event (by means of an event handler)

    The event handler should only fire after all web page content has finished loading.

  20. Etymology: From fier, from fyr, from *, a regularised form of fōr (compare West Frisian fjoer, Dutch vuur, Low German Für, German Feuer, Danish fyr#Etymology_2), from péh₂ur (compare 227A202A212F, pir, Tocharian A/B por/puwar, pȳř, Ancient Greek, հուր). This was an inanimate noun whose animate counterpart was Hn̥gʷnis.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. FIREnoun

    Etymology: fyr, Saxon; fewr, German.

    A little fire is quickly trodden out,
    Which, being suffer’d, rivers cannot quench. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    Where two raging fires meet together,
    They do consume the thing that feeds their fury. William Shakespeare.

    So contraries on Etna’s top conspire;
    Here hoary frosts, and by them breaks out fire. Abraham Cowley.

    There is another liberality to the citizens, who had suffered damage by a great fire. John Arbuthnot, on Coins.

    Though safe thou think’st thy treasure lies,
    Conceal’d in chests from human eyes,
    A fire may come, and it may be
    Bury’d, my friend, as far from thee. George Granville.

    Stars, hide your fires!
    Let not night see my black and deep desires! William Shakespeare, Macb.

    Did Shadrach’s zeal my glowing breast inspire,
    To weary tortures, and rejoice in fire? Matthew Prior.

    Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? Isa. xxxiii.

    What fire is in my ears? Can this be true?
    Stand I condemn’d for pride and scorn so much? William Shakespeare.

    He had fire in his temper, and a German bluntness; and, upon provocations, might strain a phrase. Francis Atterbury.

    Nor can the snow that age does shed
    Upon thy rev’rend head,
    Quench or allay the noble fire within,
    But all that youth can be thou art. Abraham Cowley.

    They have no notion of life and fire in fancy and in words, and any thing that is just in grammar and in measure is good oratory and poetry to them. Henry Felton, on the Classicks.

    He brings
    The reasoner’s weapons and the poet’s fire. Richard Blackmore.

    Exact Racin, and Corneille’s noble fire,
    Taught us that France had something to admire. Alexander Pope.

    The bold Longinus all the nine inspire,
    And warm the critick with a poet’s fire. Alexander Pope.

    Oh may some spark of your celestial fire,
    The last, the meanest of your sons inspire. Alexander Pope.

    Love various hearts does variously inspire,
    It stirs in gentle bosoms gentle fire,
    Like that of incense on the altar laid;
    But raging flames tempestuous souls invade;
    A fire which every windy passion blows,
    With pride it mounts, and with revenge it glows. Dryden.

    The fire of love in youthful blood,
    Like what is kindled in brush-wood,
    But for a moment burns. Thomas Shadwell.

    The god of love retires;
    Dim are his torches, and extinct his fires. Alexander Pope.

    New charms shall still increase desire,
    And time’s swift wing shall fan the fire. Edward Moore, Fables.

    Hermosilla courageously set upon the horsemen, and set fire also upon the stables where the Turks horses stood. Richard Knolles.

    He that set a fire on a plane-tree to spite his neighbour, and the plane-tree set on his neighbour’s house, is bound to pay all the loss, because it did all rise from his own ill intention. Jeremy Taylor, Rule of living holy.

  2. To Fireverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    They spoiled many parts of the city, and fired the houses of those whom they esteemed not to be their friends; but the rage of the fire was at first hindered, and then appeased by the fall of a sudden shower of rain. John Hayward.

    The breathless body, thus bewail’d, they lay,
    And fire the pile. Dryden.

    A second Paris, diff’ring but in name,
    Shall fire his country with a second flame. John Dryden, Æn.

    Yet, if desire of fame, and thirst of pow’r,
    A beauteous princess, with a crown in dow’r,
    So fire your mind, in arms assert your right. Dryden.

    He that parts us, shall bring a brand from heav’n
    And fire us hence. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

  3. To Fireverb


  1. Fire

    Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material (the fuel) in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. At a certain point in the combustion reaction, called the ignition point, flames are produced. The flame is the visible portion of the fire. Flames consist primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen and nitrogen. If hot enough, the gases may become ionized to produce plasma. Depending on the substances alight, and any impurities outside, the color of the flame and the fire's intensity will be different.Fire in its most common form can result in conflagration, which has the potential to cause physical damage through burning. Fire is an important process that affects ecological systems around the globe. The positive effects of fire include stimulating growth and maintaining various ecological systems. Its negative effects include hazard to life and property, atmospheric pollution, and water contamination. If fire removes protective vegetation, heavy rainfall may lead to an increase in soil erosion by water. Also, when vegetation is burned, the nitrogen it contains is released into the atmosphere, unlike elements such as potassium and phosphorus which remain in the ash and are quickly recycled into the soil. This loss of nitrogen caused by a fire produces a long-term reduction in the fertility of the soil, but this fecundity can potentially be recovered as molecular nitrogen in the atmosphere is "fixed" and converted to ammonia by natural phenomena such as lightning and by leguminous plants that are "nitrogen-fixing" such as clover, peas, and green beans. Fire is one of the four classical elements and has been used by humans in rituals, in agriculture for clearing land, for cooking, generating heat and light, for signaling, propulsion purposes, smelting, forging, incineration of waste, cremation, and as a weapon or mode of destruction.


  1. fire

    Fire is a process or event characterized by the rapid combustion of a material, resulting in the release of heat, light, and various gases. It typically involves the chemical reaction between a fuel source, such as wood or gasoline, and oxygen from the air. Fire produces flames, emits heat, and can spread rapidly, causing damage to objects or surroundings if not controlled. It is a natural phenomenon that has been utilized by humans for cooking, warmth, and other purposes, but it can also pose a significant hazard when it occurs uncontrollably or in inappropriate situations.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Firenoun

    the evolution of light and heat in the combustion of bodies; combustion; state of ignition

  2. Firenoun

    fuel in a state of combustion, as on a hearth, or in a stove or a furnace

  3. Firenoun

    the burning of a house or town; a conflagration

  4. Firenoun

    anything which destroys or affects like fire

  5. Firenoun

    ardor of passion, whether love or hate; excessive warmth; consuming violence of temper

  6. Firenoun

    liveliness of imagination or fancy; intellectual and moral enthusiasm; capacity for ardor and zeal

  7. Firenoun

    splendor; brilliancy; luster; hence, a star

  8. Firenoun

    torture by burning; severe trial or affliction

  9. Firenoun

    the discharge of firearms; firing; as, the troops were exposed to a heavy fire

  10. Fireverb

    to set on fire; to kindle; as, to fire a house or chimney; to fire a pile

  11. Fireverb

    to subject to intense heat; to bake; to burn in a kiln; as, to fire pottery

  12. Fireverb

    to inflame; to irritate, as the passions; as, to fire the soul with anger, pride, or revenge

  13. Fireverb

    to animate; to give life or spirit to; as, to fire the genius of a young man

  14. Fireverb

    to feed or serve the fire of; as, to fire a boiler

  15. Fireverb

    to light up as if by fire; to illuminate

  16. Fireverb

    to cause to explode; as, to fire a torpedo; to disharge; as, to fire a musket or cannon; to fire cannon balls, rockets, etc

  17. Fireverb

    to drive by fire

  18. Fireverb

    to cauterize

  19. Fireverb

    to take fire; to be kindled; to kindle

  20. Fireverb

    to be irritated or inflamed with passion

  21. Fireverb

    to discharge artillery or firearms; as, they fired on the town

  22. Etymology: [OE. fir, fyr, fur AS. fr; akin to D. vuur, OS. & OHG. fiur, G. feuer, Icel. fri, frr, Gr. py^r, and perh. to L. purus pure, E. pure Cf. Empyrean, Pyre.]


  1. Fire

    Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition. The flame is the visible portion of the fire. If hot enough, the gases may become ionized to produce plasma. Depending on the substances alight, and any impurities outside, the color of the flame and the fire's intensity will be different. Fire in its most common form can result in conflagration, which has the potential to cause physical damage through burning. Fire is an important process that affects ecological systems across the globe. The positive effects of fire include stimulating growth and maintaining various ecological systems. Fire has been used by humans for cooking, generating heat, signaling, and propulsion purposes. The negative effects of fire include water contamination, soil erosion, atmospheric pollution and hazard to life and property.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Fire

    fīr, n. the heat and light caused by burning: flame: anything burning, as fuel in a grate, &c.: a conflagration: torture or death by burning: severe trial: anything inflaming or provoking: ardour of passion: vigour: brightness of fancy: enthusiasm: sexual passion.—v.t. to set on fire: to inflame: to irritate: to animate: to cause the explosion of: to discharge.—v.i. to take fire: to be or become irritated or inflamed: to discharge firearms.—n. Fire′-alarm′, an alarm of fire, an apparatus for giving such.—n.pl. Fire′arms, arms or weapons which are discharged by fire exploding gunpowder.—ns. Fire′-ar′row, a small iron dart or arrow furnished with a combustible for setting fire to ships; Fire′ball, a ball filled with combustibles to be thrown among enemies: a meteor; Fire′-balloon′, a balloon carrying a fire placed in the lower part for rarefying the air to make itself buoyant: a balloon sent up arranged to ignite at a certain height; Fire′-bas′ket, a portable grate for a bedroom; Fire′-blast, a blast or blight affecting plants, in which they appear as if scorched by the sun; Fire′-boat, a steamboat fitted up to extinguish fires in docks; Fire′box, the box or chamber (usually copper) of a steam-engine, in which the fire is placed; Fire′brand, a brand or piece of wood on fire: one who inflames the passions of others; Fire′brick, a brick so made as to resist the action of fire, used for lining furnaces, &c.; Fire′-brigade′, a brigade or company of men for extinguishing fires or conflagrations; Fire′-buck′et, a bucket for carrying water to extinguish a fire; Fire′clay, a kind of clay, capable of resisting fire, used in making firebricks; Fire′cock, a cock or spout to let out water for extinguishing fires; Fire′damp, a gas, carburetted hydrogen, in coal-mines, apt to take fire and explode when mixed with atmospheric air; Fire′-dog (same as Andiron); Fire′-drake, a fiery meteor, a kind of firework; Fire′-eat′er, a juggler who pretends to eat fire: one given to needless quarrelling, a professed duellist; Fire′-en′gine, an engine or forcing-pump used to extinguish fires with water; Fire′-escape′, a machine used to enable people to escape from fires.—adj. Fire′-eyed (Shak.), having fiery eyes.—ns. Fire′-flag (Coleridge), Fire′flaught (Swinburne), a flash of lightning; Fire′-fly, a name applied to many phosphorescent insects, all included with the Coleoptera or beetles, some giving forth a steady light, others flashing light intermittently (glow-worms, &c.); Fire′-guard, a framework of wire placed in front of a fireplace.—n.pl. Fire′-ī′rons, the irons—poker, tongs, and shovel—used for a fire.—ns. Fire′light′er, a composition of pitch and sawdust, or the like, for kindling fires; Fire′lock, a gun in which the fire is caused by a lock with steel and flint; Fire′man, a man whose business it is to assist in extinguishing fires: a man who tends the fires, as of a steam-engine; Fire′-mas′ter, the chief of a fire-brigade.—adj. Fire′-new, new from the fire: brand new: bright.—ns. Fire′-pan, a pan or metal vessel for holding fire; Fire′place, the place in a house appropriated to the fire: a hearth; Fire′plug, a plug placed in a pipe which supplies water in case of fire; Fire′-pol′icy, a written instrument of insurance against fire up to a certain amount; Fire′-pot, an earthen pot filled with combustibles, used in military operations.—adj. Fire′proof, proof against fire.—ns. Fire′-proofing, the act of rendering anything fireproof: the materials used; Fir′er, an incendiary; Fire′-rais′ing, the crime of arson.—adj. Fire′-robed (Shak.), robed in fire.—ns. Fire′-screen, a screen for intercepting the heat of the fire; Fire′-ship, a ship filled with combustibles, to set an enemy's vessels on fire; Fire′side, the side of the fireplace: the hearth: home.—adj. homely, intimate.—ns. Fire′-stick, the implement used by many primitive peoples for obtaining fire by friction; Fire′stone, a kind of sandstone that bears a high degree of heat; Fire′-wa′ter, ardent spirits; Fire′wood, wood for burning.—n.pl. Fire′works, artificial works or preparations of gunpowder, sulphur, &c., to be fired chiefly for display or amusement.—ns. Fire′-wor′ship, the worship of fire, chiefly by the Parsees in Persia and India; Fire′-wor′shipper; Fir′ing, a putting fire to: discharge of guns: firewood: fuel: cauterisation; Fir′ing-par′ty, a detachment told off to fire over the grave of one buried with military honours, or to shoot one sentenced to death; Fir′ing-point, the temperature at which an inflammable oil will take fire spontaneously.—Fire off, to discharge a shot; Fire out (Shak.), to expel; Fire up, to start a fire: to fly into a passion.—Set the Thames on fire, to do something striking; Take fire, to begin to burn: to become aroused about something. [A.S. fýr; Ger. feuer; Gr. pyr.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. fire

    In the art of war, a word of command to soldiers of all denominations to discharge their fire-arms, cannon, etc. It likewise expresses a general discharge against an enemy. To be “under fire” means to be exposed to the attack of an enemy by cannonade or fusilade. The fire in artillery may be either direct, ricochet, rolling, plunging, horizontal, or vertical, according to the nature of the projectile and the angle of elevation. A fire is said to be direct, when the projectile hits the object without striking any intermediate one; ricochet, when the projectile strikes the ground or water under a small angle of fall, penetrates obliquely to a certain distance, and is then reflected at an angle greater than the angle of fall. This action may recur frequently, depending, as it does, on the nature of the surface struck, the initial velocity, shape, size, and density of the projectile, and on the angle of fall. It is employed in siege-works to attain the face of a work in flank, or in reverse; and in the field, or on water, when the object is large, and the distance is not accurately known. The character of ricochet fire is determined by the angle of fall. It is flattened when this angle does not exceed 4°, and curvated when the angle is between 6° and 15°. Against troops the angle of fall should not exceed 3°. A particular kind of ricochet fire called rolling is produced by placing the axis of the piece parallel, or nearly so, with the ground. It was formerly much used when the conditions were favorable in the field service, where it was very effective, as the projectile never passes at a greater distance above the ground than the muzzle of the piece. The projectile was solid round shot; rifled projectiles are unsuited to this kind of fire. When the object is situated below the piece, the fire is said to be plunging. This kind of fire is particularly effective against the decks of vessels. Under low angles of elevation the fire of guns and howitzers is said to be horizontal. The fire of mortars under high angles of elevation is called vertical.

Editors Contribution

  1. firenoun

    0.) Flaming in real elements. 1.) Father's following plans provoked by conservationist. 2.) Combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke. 3.) Discharge a gun or other weapon in order to explosively propel a bullet or projectile.

    Every word I make be be fire that cut through the ice.

    Etymology: Dismas

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on November 5, 2023  

Suggested Resources

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Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. FIRE

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Fire is ranked #56710 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Fire surname appeared 360 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Fire.

    81.3% or 293 total occurrences were White.
    8.3% or 30 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    3.6% or 13 total occurrences were Black.
    3.3% or 12 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'fire' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #788

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'fire' in Written Corpus Frequency: #590

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'fire' in Nouns Frequency: #283

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'fire' in Verbs Frequency: #521

Anagrams for fire »

  1. refi

  2. rife

  3. reif

How to pronounce fire?

How to say fire in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of fire in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of fire in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of fire in a Sentence

  1. Ben Cavender:

    It would not be inconceivable that China will look at, for example, large retail brands that are operating here and saying, well maybe they should also have fire code violations too. That would create immediate harm to a lot of businesses.

  2. Josh Gatlin:

    Within 10 seconds it went from, 'Wow, that's a fire' to 'We cannot be where we are and we need to be moving away from that,'.

  3. Ed Orgeron:

    Andre Anthony had a players-only meeting on Monday, and our team’s been on fire all week.

  4. Stephen Moore:

    I think they’re apologizing for policies that they supported and that have been on fire. No one likes to be proven wrong … When you’re wrong you try to make up excuses for why you were wrong. And that’s what’s happening with the media.

  5. Vince Macaluso:

    ’ You’re gon na think I ’m crazy, but. … ’ That’s what they ’ll say : ‘ My back’s been on fire for the past week ’ or ‘ My left leg goes out from underneath me, ’.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for fire

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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