Football Language: Misfiring

MisfiringThis post on the language of football explains the meaning of the adjective ‘misfiring’, which is a word used to describe a team’s performance. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Language: Misfiring

The adjective misfiring can be understood if you imagine an engine. The typical engine that runs most cars on the roads uses petrol, gasoline, which is ignited with a spark to produce gas which provides the power to move the engine parts. The petrol ‘fires‘ in the engine cylinder – literally it is set on fire. If something ‘fires‘ it moves, starts, and if an engine fires it starts running smoothly. Then, we add the suffix ‘mis‘, which makes many words in English negative or ‘wrong’ in someway, like ‘mistake’, ‘misuse’, misspell’ and so on. So if something misfires, it doesn’t move or start properly, the engine doesn’t work. In football, we use misfire to describe a team, player, or group of players playing badly, not working well. We can talk about a misfiring midfield or attack, a misfiring player, or even a misfiring team.

Related Links

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions or questions, contact us at

Subscribe to
Learn English Through Football

Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below

Hosted by

I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

Football GlossaryEpisode 862