fan the flames

fan the flames

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 fanned the flames. Revelations of the CEO's massive retirement package fanned the flames for consumers already furious over the company's dubious financial dealings.
See also: fan, flame

fan the flames (of something)

Fig. to make something more intense; to make a situation worse. The riot fanned the flames of racial hatred even more. The hostility in the school is bad enough without anyone fanning the flames.
See also: fan, flame

fan the flames

Intensify or stir up feelings; exacerbate an explosive situation. For example, She already found him attractive, but his letters really fanned the flames, or His speech fanned the flames of racial dissension.
See also: fan, flame

fan the flames

COMMON If something that someone says or does fans the flames, it makes a bad situation worse. There are several specific and new issues that are fanning the flames in this dispute. Lee's latest film, based on the life of Malcolm X, is set to fan the flames of controversy even higher. Compare with add fuel to the fire. Note: To fan flames means to make them burn more strongly by waving a fan or other flat object next to them.
See also: fan, flame

fan the ˈflames (of something)

make a feeling such as anger, hatred, etc. worse: His writings fanned the flames of racism.
See also: fan, flame
References in classic literature ?
You must fan the flame of your husband's ambition, you must see that he does justice to his great opportunities.
These men fan the flame of human love and raise the standard of civil virtue among mankind.
KARACHI -- Pakistan People's Party' senior leader Maula Bukhsh Chandio said on Sunday that the government should refrain from taking measures which could potentially fan the flames of nationalism.
They denounced Iranian hostile statements which seek to destabilize Bahrain, subvert its national security, target the lives of innocent citizens and residents, fan the flames of sectarian flames and drive wedges between people.
The band also likes to fan the flames as its repertoire includes arrangements, in traditional style, of Rags, spirituals and gospel music, pop tunes from the start of the 20th century to the 1960s, blues and original pieces by band members.
Without doing that you may fan the flames rather than quell them, so make sure you stop and engage brain before opening mouth.
But Genel and Tullow have sparked the ire of some Western diplomats who warn that prospecting in disputed lands can only fan the flames of conflict.
Nobody should try to fan the flames of sectarian violence.
Sadly even some unsavoury newspapers have joined in with the witch hunt as they fan the flames of prejudice.
The social network has been shown to lower productivity, make us more self-indulgent, and fan the flames of envy.
A North Wales Fire Service spokeswoman said about 100 square metres of gorse were ablaze and strong winds helped fan the flames.
MURPHY doesn't want to fan the flames, but the local election in Balbriggan appears to be hotting up.
Stringer and the players were lauded for refusing to fan the flames of controversy.
Bush's Iraq campaign, which O'Reilly supported, has done nothing but fan the flames of terrorism, attracting untold thousands of young, largely illiterate and indigent Islamic fundamentalists to join the fight against our troops, ``the infidel invaders.