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Fig. during an attack; being attacked. (*Typically: be ~; resign ~; think ~.) There was a scandal in city hall, and the mayor was forced to resign under fire. John is a good lawyer because he can think under fire.
Criticized or held responsible, as in The landlord is under fire for not repairing the roof. This expression originally referred to being within range of enemy guns; its figurative use dates from the late 1800s.
under fire1 being shot at. 2 being rigorously criticized.
2 1993 Albuquerque (New Mexico) Journal Zoe Baird, under fire for hiring illegal aliens to work in her home, has withdrawn her name as President Clinton's nominee for US Attorney General.
1. Exposed or subjected to enemy attack.
2. Exposed or subjected to critical attack or censure: an official who was under fire for mismanagement.