I. noun Usage: often attributive Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fȳr; akin to Old High German fiur fire, Greek pyr Date: before 12th century 1. a. (1) the phenomenon of combustion manifested in light, flame, and heat (2) one of the four elements of the alchemists b. (1) burning passion ; ardor (2) liveliness of imagination ; inspiration 2. a. fuel in a state of combustion (as on a hearth) b. British a small gas or electric space heater 3. a. a destructive burning (as of a building) b. (1) death or torture by fire (2) severe trial or ordeal 4. brilliancy, luminosity <
the fire of a gem
5. a. the firing of weapons (as firearms, artillery, or missiles) b. intense verbal attack or criticism c. a rapidly delivered series (as of remarks) • fireless adjective II. verb (fired; firing) Date: 13th century transitive verb 1. a. to set on fire ; kindle; also ignite <
fire a rocket engine
b. (1) to give life or spirit to ; inspire <
the description fired his imagination
(2) to fill with passion or enthusiasm — often used with up c. to light up as if by fire d. to cause to start operating — usually used with up <
fired up the engine
2. a. to drive out or away by or as if by fire b. to dismiss from a position 3. a. (1) to cause to explode ; detonate (2) to propel from or as if from a gun ; discharge, launch <
fire a rocket
(3) shoot 1b <
fire a gun
(4) to score (a number) in a game or contest b. to throw with speed or force <
fired the ball to first base
fire a left jab
c. to utter with force and rapidity 4. to apply fire or fuel to: as a. to process by applying heat <
fire pottery
b. to feed or serve the fire of <
fire a boiler
intransitive verb 1. a. to take fire ; kindle, ignite b. to begin operation ; start <
the engine fired
c. to operate especially as the result of the application of an electrical impulse <
the spark plug fires
2. a. to become irritated or angry — often used with up b. to become filled with excitement or enthusiasm 3. a. to discharge a firearm <
fire at close range
b. to emit or let fly an object 4. to tend a fire 5. to transmit a nerve impulse <
the rate at which a neuron fires
fireable adjectivefirer noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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