build a fire under (someone or something)

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build a fire under (someone or something)

To motivate someone or something to take action. The deadline really built a fire under us—we never would have gotten all that work done otherwise. Something must have built a fire under Jenna—she has really started taking her schoolwork seriously.
See also: build, fire
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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