from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Designed to fire shots in rapid succession: a rapid-fire machine gun.
  • adj. Marked by continuous rapid occurrence: rapid-fire questions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Able to fire bullets in quick succession.
  • adj. Delivered in a rapid continuous stream.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Firing shots in rapid succession.
  • adj. Capable of being fired rapidly; -- applied to single-barreled guns of greater caliber than small arms, mounted so as to be quickly trained and elevated, with a quick-acting breech mechanism operated by a single motion of a crank or lever (abbr. R. F.)

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Constructed so as to discharge projectiles with rapidity; quick-firing; quick-fire.
  • Figuratively, marked by rapid movement of question and answer.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It’s where I take calls rapid-fire, one after the other, and people can ask me about any stock the lawyers at CNBC say it’s OK to mention on air.

    Jim Cramer's Mad Money

  • Working with majority leader Robert Byrd, I threw out a huge stack of obstructionist amendments with a series of rapid-fire parliamentary rulings because Senate rules required the presiding officer to reject them as nongermane, or “dilatory.”

    The Good Fight

  • Everything from the fight he has with his rapid-fire round to the way he browbeats his underling, Tim, is all planned to make him sound just a little more petty, a little more realistic, and a little more human.

    The Lovecraft News Network

  • Television is just too rapid-fire to understand well.

    How to talk like a native in no time

  • And suddenly the rapid-fire comments from Al and Mixner cease.

    Matthew Yglesias » Sleep Deprivation

  • I can go into a barber shop and get my hair cut the way I like it, and make myself understood (barely) in stores and most businesses, some businesses, and most government agencies like to overwhelm you with rapid-fire Spanish.

    Developing An Ear for Spanish

  • The proprietor and the rest took turns at talking to me in rapid-fire Spanish, and, from the expressions on their faces, all concluded that I was remarkably stupid.


  • What is true of rapid-fire guns, stock-exchanges, and electric motors, cannot possibly be true of hand-flung javelins and whirring chariot wheels.

    These Bones shall Rise Again - Essay by Jack London

  • In which case, before rapid-fire guns and the modern machinery of warfare, they will perish the more swiftly and easily.


  • The statistics show that 58,640 merchant steamers, equipped with searchlights and rapid-fire guns, were despatched by the various nations to China.



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