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brush fire

a fire in an area of bushes, shrubs, or brush, as distinct from a forest fire.
any small but persistent problem, as within a large organization, a department of a government, or between nations:
border skirmishes and other international brush fires.
Origin of brush fire
1770-80, Americanism


or brushfire

[bruhsh-fahyuh r] /ˈbrʌʃˌfaɪər/
limited in scope, area, or importance, as some labor disputes or local skirmishes.
1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for brush fire
Historical Examples
  • He screamed at them, but they watched the brush fire that swept the hill top.

    The Glory of Ippling Helen M. Urban
  • “But I should think you could dodge a brush fire,” put in Helen.

    Janet Hardy in Radio City Ruthe S. Wheeler
  • I give orders plain enough, but say, it's like a brush fire—you never know when you got it stamped out.

    Somewhere in Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • A brush fire in the street crackled right merrily, its sparks dancing skyward.

    The Bells of San Juan Jackson Gregory
  • That's what I did, and then I marched straight around the high mountain till I saw your brush fire last night about midnight.

    Camp Venture George Cary Eggleston
  • Half-way up the opposite slope a brush fire was burning clearly and steadily in a maple grove.

    The Golden Road Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Sprinkle kerosene on it or burn it out frequently with a brush fire.

  • While we did this Iksialook filled the kettle with bits of ice and melted it over his brush fire and made tea.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
British Dictionary definitions for brush fire

brush fire

a fire in bushes and scrub
a minor local war
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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