flame

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add fuel to the flame(s)

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

fuel the flame(s)

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

in flames

Of a failure, spectacularly and permanently. Used in the phrases "down in flames" and "up in flames." My campaign speech went down in flames after I forgot everything I had rehearsed and just stood on stage sweating. If we don't get that shipment by Monday, our whole business plan will go up in flames.
See also: flame

an/(one's) old flame

One's former lover. How am I supposed to forget about my old flame if I keep seeing her around town? Yeah, Ben is his old flame—they dated last summer.
See also: flame, old

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

burn with a low blue flame

 
1. Lit. [of a properly adjusted gas burner] to burn and put off heat. Each burner on the stove burns with a low blue flame giving the maximum amount of heat per BTU.
2. Fig. to be quietly and intensely angry. She just sat there with her steak in her lap, burning with a low blue flame. She was quiet, but everyone knew she would soon burn with a low blue flame.
3. Fig. to be heavily intoxicated with alcohol. (Alludes to the irritability of a person who is very drunk.) Yeah, he's burning with a low blue flame. He's not just drunk, he's burning with a low blue flame.
See also: blue, burn, flame, low

burst into flame(s)

[for something] to catch fire and become a large fire quickly. As soon as the flame reached the curtains, the entire wall seemed to burst into flames. The two cars burst into flames soon after the collision.
See also: burst, flame

drawn like a moth to a flame

Fig. attracted [to someone or some event] instinctively or very strongly, as a moth is drawn to the light of a flame. Customers were drawn to the sale like a moth to aflame. They came from all over and bought up everything in the store.
See also: drawn, flame, like, moth

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

flame up

 
1. [for something] to catch fire and burst into flames. The trees flamed up one by one in the forest fire. Suddenly the car flamed up and exploded.
2. [for a fire] to expand and send out larger flames. The raging fire flamed up and jumped to even more trees. As firemen opened the door and came in, the fire flamed up and filled the room.
See also: flame, up

flame with anger

 and flame with resentment; flame with lust; flame with vengeance
Fig. [for someone's eyes] to "blaze" or seem to communicate a particular quality or excitement, usually a negative feeling. His eyes flamed with resentment when he heard Sally's good news. Her eyes flamed with hatred.
See also: anger, flame

go down in flames

 
1. Lit. [for a plane] to crash. The enemy fighter planes went down in flames, ending the battle. The pilot and crew went down in flames near the air-port.
2. . Fig. to fail spectacularly. The whole project went down in flames. Todd wentdown in flames in his efforts to win the heart of Marsha.
See also: down, flame

go up in flames

 and go up in smoke 
1. Lit. to burn up completely. The entire forest went up in flames! The expensive house went up in smoke.
2. Fig. [for value or investment] to be lost suddenly and totally. Everything we own has gone up in flames with the stock crash. The entire investment went up in smoke.
See also: flame, up

shoot someone down in flames

Fig. to ruin someone; to bring about someone's downfall. (See also go down in flames.) It was a bad idea, okay, but you didn't have to shoot me down in flames at the meeting. I didn't mean to shoot you down in flames.
See also: down, flame, shoot

shoot (someone, something, or an animal) down

to bring down someone, something, or an animal by gunfire. Fred shot Mike down in the street. They shot down the plane.
See also: down, shoot

shoot something down

Fig. to foil a plan through criticism; to counter an idea with criticism. (Based on shoot someone, something, or an animal down.) He raised a good point, but the others shot him down almost immediately. Liz shot down Jeff's best idea.
See also: down, shoot

burst into something

to begin to produce a lot of something The children burst into tears when they saw their ruined toys. The car burst into flames. The whole situation was so ridiculous, I simply burst into laughter.
Related vocabulary: break into something
See also: burst

fan the flames (of something)

to cause an increase in negative feelings These images of war could be used to fan the flames of hatred against our country.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of fan the flames (to cause air to flow toward a fire)
See also: fan, flame

go down in flames

also go up in flames
to fail or end suddenly and completely We've seen two big mass-transit plans go down in flames in the last two years. The idea of self-respect went up in flames a long time ago.
Related vocabulary: go up in smoke
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of a plane that goes down in flames (falls to the ground and burns)
See also: down, flame

add fuel to the fire

to make a situation worse than it already is Should the government warn the public of terrorist threats, or is this merely adding fuel to the fire?
See also: add, fire, fuel

shoot down something

also shoot something down
1. to destroy an aircraft or weapon in the sky by shooting it In the movie, he pulls out a portable rocket launcher and shoots down the helicopter. If we detect an incoming missile, we must be able to shoot it down.
2. to refuse to accept something The baseball owners shot down a plan to add two more teams to each league. At a public meeting, residents shot down two different designs for rebuilding the area.
See also: down, shoot

add fuel to the fire/flames

to make an argument or a bad situation worse His mild words only added fuel to the fire. Isabelle was furious.
See also: add, fire, fuel

fan the flames

to cause anger or other bad feelings to increase (usually + of ) His speeches fanned the flames of racial tension.
See also: fan, flame

go up in flames

to fail or come to an end suddenly and completely Final hopes of a pay settlement went up in flames yesterday after talks broke down.
See fan the flames, shoot down in flames
See also: flame, up

like moths to a flame

  (literary)
if people gather round someone like moths to a flame, they try to be near someone who seems very attractive or very interesting
Usage notes: Moths are small flying insects that are attracted to bright light.
I never understood why people flocked around him like moths to a flame.
See also: flame, like, moth

an old flame

a person who you had a romantic relationship with in the past I bumped into an old flame of yours in Oxford on Saturday.
See also: flame, old

shoot something/somebody down in flames

  (informal)
to strongly criticize an idea or plan, or to refuse to accept it Several months ago this highly impractical idea would have been shot down in flames. I thought I'd made a sensible suggestion, but they just shot me down in flames.
See also: down, flame, shoot

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

burst into

1. Also, burst out in or into . Break out into sudden activity. For example, burst into flames means "break out in a fire," as in This dry woodpile may well burst into flames. A version of this term, which dates from the 16th century, was used figuratively by John Milton: "Fame is the spur ... But the fair guerdon [reward] when we hope to find, and think to burst out into sudden blaze" ( Lycidas, 1637).
2. Also, burst out. Give sudden utterance to. For example, burst into tears or laughter or song or speech or burst out crying or laughing or singing , etc. mean "begin suddenly to weep, laugh, sing," and so on, as in When she saw him, she burst into tears, or I burst out laughing when I saw their outfits, or When they brought in the cake, we all burst into song. These terms have been so used since the late 1300s.
See also: burst

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

go up in flames

Also, go up in smoke. Be utterly destroyed, as in This project will go up in flames if the designer quits, or All our work is going up in smoke. This idiom transfers a fire to other kinds of destruction. [Early 1900s]
See also: flame, up

shoot down

1. Ruin the aspirations of, disappoint, as in Bill was hoping Sharon would go out with him, but she shot him down.
2. Reject, defeat; also, expose as false. For example, It was the best idea I could come up with, but they unanimously shot it down, or It was inevitable that they would shoot down any claim made by the opposing candidate. This colloquial expression, which alludes to bringing down an aircraft or game bird by shooting, is sometimes intensified as shoot down in flames, originally (in World War I) referring to bringing down enemy aircraft but the late 1950s extended to decisively defeating anyone or anything.
See also: down, shoot

burst into

v.
1. To enter some place suddenly and forcefully: The police burst into the room and conducted a raid.
2. To start doing something suddenly: Sometimes we burst into song while we're hiking in the mountains.
See also: burst

flame out

v.
1. To fail: Their new Internet company flamed out after only a few months.
2. To emit a flame that causes a malfunction; to burn out. Used of engines: I tried to restore that old car, but the engine flamed out.
See also: flame, out

shoot down

v.
1. To cause something to collapse or fall by striking it with bullets, missiles, or some other projectile; gun down: They shot down the attacking airplanes. The kids released a balloon and shot it down with an air rifle.
2. To kill someone by shooting them; gun down: They stormed into the office and shot down everyone there. The assassin walked up to her target and shot him down.
3. To discredit someone or someone's proposal: Whenever I offer an opinion, they just shoot me down. The council shot down the mayor's proposal. I'm afraid this new evidence shoots down our old theory of what happened.
4. To ruin the aspirations of someone: Their sneers and insults shot me down. A bad critic can shoot down even a very determined artist.
5. To put an end to something; defeat something: The opposition was able to shoot down the proposal. The electorate shot the incumbent down.
See also: down, shoot

burn with a low blue flame

1. in. to be heavily alcohol intoxicated. Yeah, he’s burning with a low blue flame.
2. in. to be quietly and intensely angry. She just sat there with her steak in her lap, burning with a low blue flame.
See also: blue, burn, flame, low

flame

1. in. to write an excited and angry note in a computer forum or news group. (see also flamage.) Stop flaming a minute and try to explain your position calmly.
2. n. a verbal attack as in sense 1 My email is full of flames this morning!
3. in. to appear obviously homosexual. Man, she’s flaming today!

flame-war

n. an angry and excited exchange of notes on a computer forum or news group. A flame-war erupted on the board last night and a lot of people

go down in flames

in. to fail spectacularly. (see also shoot someone down in flames, crash and burn.) The whole team went down in flames.
See also: down, flame

old flame

n. a former sweetheart or lover. It is best to forget an old flame.
See also: flame, old

shoot someone down in flames

tv. to ruin someone; to bring about someone’s downfall. (see also go down in flames.) It was a bad idea, okay, but you didn’t have to shoot me down in flames.
See also: down, flame, shoot
References in classic literature ?
Now, my father, the steam from my flesh had been drawn from my hand by the heat, and the flame got hold of me and ate into my flesh, and its torment was great.
I cannot let her watch for ME in vain, till I have done my best: then tell me where the Fire-Spirits dwell, and I will ask of them the flame that shall give life to the little child and such great happiness to the sad, lonely mother: tell me the path, and let me go.
The effect was instantaneous, The flames danced along the parched trunk of the pine like lightning quivering on a chain, and immediately a column of living fire was raging on the terrace.
Now she realized that it would be but a matter of minutes ere the whole space between the north and the south would be a seething mass of billowing flames.
Once more something whistled, but this time quite close, swooping downwards like a little bird; a flame flashed in the middle of the street, something exploded, and the street was shrouded in smoke.
All night he lay there, alternately unconscious and painfully sentient; and in the latter state watching with savage hatred the lurid flames which still rose from burning crib and hay cock.
The cause of the second explosion was less a mystery than that of the first, the mate attributing it to the bursting of the boilers when the flames had finally reached them; but what had caused the first explosion was a subject of considerable speculation among the stranded company.
Suddenly a great tree on the edge of the open space burst into flames.
Beneath and around them blazed the huge fire, roaring and crackling on every side of the bailey, and even as they looked the two corner turrets fell in with a deafening crash, and the whole castle was but a shapeless mass, spouting flames and smoke from every window and embrasure.
At daybreak the 1,200 chimneys vomited their torrents of flame into the air, and the ground was agitated with dull tremblings.
Besides the investigation into the manner in which the deceased had met his death, there were serious questions to be settled relating to the cause of the fire, to the abstraction of the keys, and to the presence of a stranger in the vestry at the time when the flames broke out.
Is a Teton horse a salamander that he can walk amid fiery flames unhurt, or do you think the Lord will show his might in your behalf, as in the days of old, and carry you harmless through such a furnace as you may see glowing beneath yonder red sky?
But these taking no effect, and the concourse coming on like an army of devils, they only thought of consulting their own safety, and retreated, echoing their assailants' cries, and hoping in the confusion to be taken for rioters themselves; in which stratagem they succeeded, with the exception of one old man who was never heard of again, and was said to have had his brains beaten out with an iron bar (one of his fellows reported that he had seen the old man fall), and to have been afterwards burnt in the flames.
Oh the fire of it, more dazzling than the flames of the burning ship, throwing a magic light on the wide earth, leaping audaciously to the sky, presently to be quenched by time, more cruel, more pitiless, more bitter than the sea--and like the flames of the burning ship surrounded by an impenetrable night.
He had just fancied they were cruelly deserted by their scout, as a stream of flame issued from the rock beneath them, and a fierce yell, blended with a shriek of agony, announced that the messenger of death sent from the fatal weapon of Hawkeye, had found a victim.