hang fire (third-person singular simple present hangs fire, present participle hanging fire, simple past and past participle hung fire)
- (of a firearm) To fail to fire immediately when the trigger is pulled.
- 1841, Edward Costello, The adventures of a soldier
- […] a number of Portuguese soldiers entered, one of whom, taking me for a Frenchman, for I had the French soldier's jacket on, my own being wet, snapped his piece at me, which luckily hung fire.
- (figuratively) To wait or hold back.
- We were told to hang fire on the decision until management came back with a proposal.
- 1913, D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, chapter 13
- “I’m just goin’ ter settle this little ——, that’s all,” said Dawes desperately.
- “What do you mean?” snapped Thomas Jordan.
- “What I say,” said Dawes, but he hung fire.
1993, Dana Stabenow, A Fatal Thaw, →ISBN, page 132:
Kevin hung fire where he was, staring at Chaney's body with dilated eyes and a slowly greening complexion.
hang fire (plural hang fires)
- (firearms) the situation when a gun does not immediately fire when the trigger is pulled, but may fire shortly after.
- If the gun does not fire at all when triggered, the term misfire is normally used.