add fuel to the fire

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add fuel to the fire

To do or say something to make an argument, problem, or bad situation worse; to further incense an already angry person or group of people. The debate was going poorly for the senatorial candidate, and his strikingly uncouth comments simply added fuel to the fire. Revelations of the CEO's massive retirement package added fuel to the fire for consumers already furious over the company's dubious financial dealings.
See also: add, fire, fuel

add fuel to the fire

 and add fuel to the flame
Fig. to make a problem worse; to say or do something that makes a bad situation worse; to make an angry person get even angrier. (Alludes to causing a flame to grow larger someone or something to move forward when fuel is added.) Shouting at a crying child just adds fuel to the fire.
See also: add, fire, fuel

add fuel to the fire

Also, add fuel to the flames. Worsen an already bad situation, as by increasing anger, hostility, or passion, as in Bill was upset, and your making fun of his mishap just added fuel to the fire. This metaphor dates from Roman times-Livy used it in his history of Rome-and it remains in common use. For similar metaphors, see add insult to injury; fan the flames.
See also: add, fire, fuel

add fuel to the fire

or

add fuel to the flames

COMMON If something that someone says or does adds fuel to the fire or adds fuel to the flames, it makes a bad situation worse. You must not try to borrow more money to get yourself out of trouble. This really would be adding fuel to the fire. Her resignation is only likely to add fuel to the flames. Note: These expressions are very variable. For example, you can say that something fuels the fire or fuels the flames, or just that it adds fuel. I'm not going to fuel the fire here: people are perfectly entitled to their own opinion. His comments are bound to add fuel to the debate already taking place within the party about the Greens' public image.
See also: add, fire, fuel

add fuel to the fire (or flames)

(of a person or circumstance) cause a situation or conflict to become more intense, especially by provocative comments.
See also: add, fire, fuel

add ˌfuel to the ˈfire/ˈflames

do or say something which makes a difficult situation worse, or makes somebody even more angry, etc: She was already furious and his apologies and excuses only added fuel to the flames. OPPOSITE: pour oil on troubled water(s)
See also: add, fire, flame, fuel
References in periodicals archive ?
IT'S difficult to find words to do justice to the antipathy between Hull and Hull Kingston Rovers fans, and the Paul Cooke affair has only added fuel to the fire.
Chepkemei added fuel to the fire by running and finishing third in last Sunday's world best 10K race in Puerto Rico
Colin Farrell also added fuel to the fire when he openly flirted with Sean's wife Robyn on the set of A Home At The End Of The World.
AIG is currently enjoying a rally, and yesterday's good news has only added fuel to the fire.
And John Bateman's unexplained absence from the team last night only added fuel to the fire.
Thugs and robbers should be put into jail, he said adding that Zardars statement has added fuel to the fire.
The pair's recent talk about one day having a family has only added fuel to the fire.
Central Bank Governor, Yasin Anwar's disclosure yesterday regarding the foreign exchange depletion by half added fuel to the fire and the dollar surpassed all past records reaching at Rs93.
ITALY star Marco Materazzi has added fuel to the fire ahead of tonight's grudge Euro 2008 qualifier by telling the French they have no chance of victory in the San Siro.
And now Holloway and former Rangers' chairman Nick Blackburn have added fuel to the fire by claiming money was offered to the manager to push through the free transfer of Argentinian full-back Gino Pad-ula from Jerez.
And Gil added fuel to the fire by insisting: "Jimmy has told me repeatedly that he wants to come back.
Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw added fuel to the fire yesterday by branding Ofgem's number crunching "flawed".
au, the publication of His Holiness, by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, added fuel to the fire, reproducing letters and memos to and from Benedict and his personal secretary, which the Vatican said violated the pope's right to privacy.
Lindsay added fuel to the fire by comparing his treatment by the media to that of the Virginia Tech killer.
Ex-Hollyoaks star Jeremy Edwards later added fuel to the fire saying said Bez was ``loopy'' and ``stressed''.