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backfire on

To not proceed as one had planned or hoped. My plan to convince my parents that I'm responsible enough to have a car promptly backfired on me when I came home after curfew. The invading army's strategy completely backfired on them because they failed to account for the icy mountain terrain.
See also: backfire, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

backfire on someone

Fig. [for something, such as a plot] to fail unexpectedly; to fail with an undesired result. Your plot backfired on you. I was afraid that my scheme would backfire on me.
See also: backfire, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


in. to release intestinal gas anally and audibly. (Usually objectionable.) Whew! Somebody backfired!

backfire (on someone)

in. [for a scheme meant to cause harm to someone or something] to harm the person who runs the scheme. I hope this plan doesn’t backfire on me.
See also: backfire, on, someone


McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
It would appear they tried to blow up a litter bin and the prank backfired.
Attempts to repress Teilhard's thought backfired. He went off to China where he became a major player in the discovery and interpretation of Peking Man, a significant find that further bolstered evolutionary theory.
Extending the duck season seemed like a license for Stuttgart to print money, but it may have backfired. Robotic decoys are effective--too effective--but banning them only in Arkansas may backfire, too.
It also backfired. On election day, his favored candidates both lost.
* At the same time as the developing world moved toward enlightened women's rights attitudes, the Bush administration was working hard at its third attempt to weaken the Cairo consensus on women's rights--an effort that backfired at a regional conference on international women's health in Santiago, Chile.
But the sole point is that this (false) empathy has backfired: instead of giving the faithful time and understanding to absorb the teaching of Pope Paul VI, the bishops' action led many to reject the Magisterial teaching altogether.
After some early success, however, the El Trapiche greenhouse backfired. The folks in El Trapiche were confounded by pesticide management, marketing and devising a business plan.
And when Bill Gates tried on the role of the philosopher CEO, his plan backfired, in part because Microsoft was being targeted by the Feds, in part because Microsoft's stock took a nosedive, in part because Gates' just-plain-folks sweaters were never terribly convincing and in part because of his unreadable book.
The plan ultimately backfired and helped bring the anti-logging Labor Party to power.
This actually backfired when the L'Association des Realisateurs et Realisatrices des Films du Quebec boycotted the ceremonies, which were reduced to a press conference.
The media's cooperative effort had backfired. ABC, CBS, lox, NBC, CNN, and the Associated Press had joined together in 1993 to form the VNS, hoping that sharing one service would save money and provide a more accurate picture of elections.
"CAFE has backfired in numerous ways," Klimisch observes.
Even Mr Dobson has admitted the scheme backfired. Plans are in the pipeline to bring nurses back where they belong, into hospital-based training programmes.
Another hostess prevailed upon one of Proust's literary gods (and model for his own Bergotte), Anatole France, to preface it - "bullied" and "extracted" are the terms used by biographers - who opens his appeal with the blunt "Why have I promised to undertake this most agreeable but perfectly useless task?" (Of these supporting materials, only France's preface appears in the Ecco reprint.) This frilly presentation backfired: it made Proust's book, as Roger Shattuck has noted, seem "like the work of a dilettante with powerful connections, even though it does not read that way." The book led to snide accusations of homosexuality in a particularly nasty review (by a critic who was himself homosexual), forcing Proust to challenge his fellow invert to a duel.