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 ?
The agreement fell into disrepute during the postwar period, making the Democrats look like appeasers of Stalin, adding fuel to the fire of McCarthyism, and compelling Truman to take a hard line on Korea.
And adding fuel to the fire was the February ruling by the Massachusetts supreme judicial court that determined gays and lesbians are entitled to full marriage, not just civil unions.
Adding fuel to the fire is a marketing strategy that targets the books not only at young black and Latino men, but also at young men who are incarcerated.
Some retailers are concerned about languishing sales and pressures, with Wal-Mart's takeover of the Asda supermarket chain adding fuel to the fire.
Adding fuel to the fire is probably the hefty short interest in RH: recent numbers showed an increase of 3.9% to more than 8M shares now short (compared to average daily volume of 1.1M).
No less important is the attitude of many of our own who have been deliberately giving irresponsible statements on the media, thus adding fuel to the fire.
Adding fuel to the fire, Callum then sneaks in to hassle Kylie, and a furious Gail chases him out of the house.
Adding fuel to the fire, Ahsan said that after power and gas shortfall, this fuel shortage was another gift to the nation from this incompetent incumbent government.
"Staying quiet, not adding fuel to the fire, not giving the ex any ammunition to use against me, personally, publicly or legally in court has been a major factor but the real power for any parent is understanding our ex- partners' behaviour," he added.
He said 'No family or society would ever wish to lose their young generation one way or the other, nor would any parent ever wish to see their children joining underground organisations, but every institution of New Delhi has been adding fuel to the fire and the immature and harsh mind set of New Delhi has to be the root cause behind every incident of violence in Jammu and Kashmir and joining of youth to the ranks of militancy'.
Siraj further said that statements issued by the federal ministers against opposition parties were tantamount to adding fuel to the fire and the central government should show some flexibility in its behaviour.
"Both Robyn and Leanne have been suffering and struggling with their voices and that is just adding fuel to the fire."