miss fire

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miss fire

1. obsolete Of a firearm, to fail to fire a shot. (Replaced in modern English by the word "misfire.") He had the better aim of the two, but his pistol missed fire, and he was killed in the duel.
2. obsolete By extension, to fail to do as expected or intended; to not achieve the intended or anticipated result. (Replaced in modern English by the word "misfire.") It is now clear that the government's social welfare experiment has greatly miss fired.
See also: fire, miss

miss fire

Fail to achieve the anticipated result, as in Recycling cardboard seemed like a good idea but it missed fire. First recorded in 1727, this phrase originally described a firearm failing to go off and has been used figuratively since the mid-1800s.
See also: fire, miss

miss fire

1. To fail to discharge. Used of a firearm.
2. To fail to achieve the anticipated result.
See also: fire, miss
References in classic literature ?
Customs have been handed down by ages of repetition, but the punishment for ignoring a custom is a matter for individual treatment by a jury of the culprit's peers, and I may say that justice seldom misses fire, but seems rather to rule in inverse ratio to the ascendency of law.
"There is no arguing with Johnson," said one of his friends, Oliver Goldsmith, "for when his pistol misses fire he knocks you down with the butt end of it." And perhaps Goldy, as Johnson called him, had to suffer more rudeness from him than any of his friends to save Bozzy.
I've seen it done, and it never misses fire. It's just as though they were dancing on a red-hot stove.
An internal shutter prevented the Prom Misses fire from spreading but all the stock, worth thousands, was ruined by smoke, owner Debbie Cox said.
for if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with its butt-end" - Oliver Goldsmith on which man of letters notoriously pugnacious in argument?