1 historical A small bomb made of a metal or wooden box filled with powder, used to blast down a door or to make a hole in a wall.‘Machine guns in front and on the flank opened fire, while petards, bombs, and artillery fire covered the entire area of the trenches with projectiles.’
- ‘The various applications are discussed briefly, from guns and artillery to petards (bombs for blowing down castle doors), rockets, and military mines.’
- 1.1A kind of firework that explodes with a sharp report.‘After lots of petards, fireworks, pyrotechnics, the best policy for spending New Years Eve is to be surrounded by great company, friends, good music, food and drink, and following with joyful waking up and sunshine!’
- ‘The next negative aspect is the noise and other pollution caused by fireworks, especially the petards that get more powerful year by year.’
- be hoist by one's own petard
Have one's plans to cause trouble for others backfire on one.‘Charges of working against the interests of your own country are very slippery things, and may get the one making the charges hoisted by his own petard someday.’
- ‘But, with any luck, he may soon be hoisted by his own petard.’
- ‘He's been at it for years and he finally got hoisted by his own petard.’
- ‘But it is hard not to enjoy the fact that liberals now find themselves hoist by their own petard.’
- ‘Of course, I may be hoist with my own petard, but I'm prepared to take my chances.’
- ‘‘‘I've been hoist by my own petard many times,’ McCain said, musing, ‘but if I think a thing is not right, I have my say.’’
From Shakespeare's Hamlet (III. iv. 207); hoist is in the sense ‘lifted and removed’, past participle of dialect hoise (see hoist).
Mid 16th century from French pétard, from péter ‘break wind’.