1670s, "juggler who appears to swallow fire as part of an act," from fire (n.) + eater. From 1804 as "person of irascible or recklessly defiant disposition;" especially in U.S. history in reference to vehement Southern partizans (1851). Perhaps due to the extended senses, fire-swallower began to be used for the original sense by 1883. Related: Fire-eating.
1. He said they should turn their fire on the Conservative Party instead.
2. The council recently drew fire for its intervention in the dispute.
3. If something's a sure-fire hit then Radio One will play it.
4. Legs of pork were cured and smoked over the fire.
5. Don't leave a child alone in a room with an open fire.