To misfire; to have a reverse effect from what was intended.
Mimi's gossip about the Head of the Department backfired wizen people began to mistrust her.
ball of fire
A person with great energy and ability; a person who can do something very well.
He did poorly in school but as a salesman he is a ball of fire.
The new shortstop is a good fielder but certainly no ball of fire in batting.
between two fires
between a rock and a hard place
Between two dangers or difficulties, not knowing what to do.
The boy was between a rock and a hard place; he had to go home and be whipped or stay in town all night and be picked up by the police.
When the man's wife and her mother got together, he was between two fires.
build a fire under
To urge or force (a slow or unwilling person) to action; get (someone) moving; arouse.
The health department built a fire under the restaurant owner and got him to clean the place up by threatening to cancel his license.
burnt child dreads the fire
once bitten, twice shy
A person who has suffered from doing something has learned to avoid doing it again. A proverb.
Once Mary had got lost when her mother took her downtown. But a burnt child dreads the fire, so now Mary stays close to her mother when they are downtown.
To begin to burn.
When he dropped a match in the leaves, they caught fire.
Don't stand too close to the gas stove. Your clothes may catch fire.
No one seems to know how the old building caught fire.
To become excited.
The audience caught fire at the speaker's words and began to cheer.
His imagination caught fire as he read.
To give a military command ordering soldiers to stop shooting.
"Cease fire!" the captain cried, and the shooting stopped.
A period of negotiated nonaggression, when the warring parties involved promise not to attack.
Unfortunately, the cease-fire in Bosnia was broken many times by all parties concerned.