1. have an adverse result, or the opposite effect to what was intended






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the plan/decision backfired

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When something 'backfires' it means that a plan or action goes completely wrong or has the opposite effect to what was expected. This negative outcome is often caused by taking risky action, or by misjudging the situation with faulty information or guesswork. When something 'backfires', it all goes wrong. A similar expression might be 'blow up in your face', which also means something going wrong, creating a negative outcome for you and going against your expectations.

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  1. The Prime Minister's decision to call a snap election backfired as her party was comfortably defeated in the polls.
  2. Buying my children a dog has backfired, I am the one who has to walk it every day and clean up after it.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. I think we were too hasty in firing Jenny. It could backfire on us badly if she's picked up by one of our rivals.
  2. My plan to appear relaxed in my interview ended up backfiring on me because the interviewer misread it as a lack of enthusiasm.

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