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, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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, to
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

add fuel to the fire


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, to
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

add fuel to the fire/flames, to

To exacerbate an already inflammatory situation, increasing anger or hostility. The Roman historian Livy used this turn of phrase (in Latin) nearly two thousand years ago, and it was repeated (in English) by numerous writers thereafter, among them John Milton (Samson Agonistes, 1671): “He’s gone, and who knows how he may report thy words by adding fuel to the flame.”
See also: add, fire, fuel, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
He further said that leaders should resolve the issues politically as the political intolerance will add fuel to the fire.
It will simply add fuel to the fire," Grushko told journalists, commenting on the EU's decision not to prolong its arms embargo for the Syrian opposition.
COMPANIES are being asked to add fuel to the fire and make sure Sandwell's municipal Bonfire Night celebration goes with a bang.
In the margins, however, several countries, including many of the new member states, supported a more forceful approach against Russia but were forced to back down against a united front of countries determined not to add fuel to the fire with regard to Moscow on the eve of a meeting with Vladimir Putin during the European Summit in Lahti, Finland.
Criticism of the Scotland boss has been fierce and Reyes wants to add fuel to the fire.
Tomorrow Stewart will add fuel to the fire when his book says Sri Lanka are experts at taking the rules of cricket right to the limit.
Mr Sherry, a former BB company captain, said yesterday: "I don't want to add fuel to the fire.
He said the valley were witnessing during Indian election drama worst kind of state repression, which can only add fuel to the fire.
To add fuel to the fire Subaru boss David Lapworth has publically admitted that he would consider Burns, should Finland's Tommi Makinen hang up his racing suit.
Aasia Ishaque, Central Secretary Information of APML in a statement issued here said that people hailing from all walks of life are already oppressed due to worst load shedding and deteriorating law & order situation while increase in gas prices would add fuel to the fire.
To add fuel to the fire, the price per naan does not tally with the rate fixed by the government.
He said that at the moment when the industrial production was registering negative growth and the business community was facing severe difficulties in dealing with banks, such steps of add fuel to the fire. Haroon Shafiq Chaudhry urged Federal Finance Minister Dr.
You could feel the memory of the half million killed in communal violence in 1947 welling up inside him, as, with tears in his eyes, he pleaded with these men not to add fuel to the fires of fear of Muslims.