Etymology
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backfire (n.)

1832, American English, originally "a fire deliberately lit ahead of an advancing wildfire to deprive it of fuel," from back (adj.) + fire (n.). As a verb in this sense, recorded from 1886. The noun meaning "premature ignition in an internal-combustion engine" is first recorded 1897. AS a verb, of schemes, plans, etc., "to affect the initiator rather than the intended object" it is attested from 1912, a figurative use from the accidental back-firing of firearms.

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Definitions of backfire
1
backfire (n.)
the backward escape of gases and unburned gunpowder after a gun is fired;
Synonyms: blowback
backfire (n.)
a loud noise made by the explosion of fuel in the manifold or exhaust of an internal combustion engine;
backfire (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;
backfire (n.)
a miscalculation that recoils on its maker;
Synonyms: boomerang
2
backfire (v.)
come back to the originator of an action with an undesired effect;
Your comments may backfire and cause you a lot of trouble
Synonyms: backlash / recoil
backfire (v.)
emit a loud noise as a result of undergoing a backfire;
My old car backfires all the time
backfire (v.)
set a controlled fire to halt an advancing forest to prairie fire;
From wordnet.princeton.edu