fan the flames

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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

fan the flames, to

To exacerbate an already inflammable situation, or to revive a flagging situation. The fact that wind stirs up a fire has, of course, been known since ancient times, but the precise metaphor here, with its alliterative lilt, is considerably newer. Dickens used it in The Old Curiosity Shop (1840): “Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship.”
See also: fan
References in classic literature ?
The incident of the day had fanned the flame that was burning the inside of their hearts out, and the torture was almost more than they could endure.
Mr Kenwigs, not being skilful in such matters, only fanned the flame in attempting to extinguish it.
Eddie Jones fanned the flames ahead of today's Six Nations showdown when he accused the 114-times-capped lock of failing to "respect the integrity of the referee" in last week's win over Scotland and claimed that today's referee Jerome Garces "won't let Alun Wyn Jones intimidate him".
Winds that fanned the flames have died down but the death toll is still expected to rise.
Democratically elected governments were meant to ensure this would never happen again, but persisted in trade rivalry leading to protectionist policies and the Great Depression that fanned the flames of fascism, as in America today.
Strong winds fanned the flames racing through nearly a kilometer (half a mile) -long row of shanties in a village in suburban Quezon city in metropolitan Manila before dawn Thursday, said village officer Noel Carino.
Summary: When the Nusra Front relayed its demands to the wife of captured policeman Ali Bazal this week, she came to a startling realization, one that has already fanned the flames of anger among the families of the captured servicemen blocking roads and burning tires along Bekaa Valley highways.
Walsh fanned the flames further by saying he didn't respect Branson, either.
Strong winds have fanned the flames in the Costa Del Sol region, and Spanish authorities suspect the blaze was started deliberately.
WORLD triple jump champion Phillips Idowu has fanned the flames of his feud with Charles van Commenee by insisting he will not speak to the UK Athletics head coach until he receives a public apology from the Dutchman.
The smoke was coming from the cockpit and they told us later they couldn't drop our masks because they feed oxygen into the cabin and if there was a fire it would have fanned the flames.
Drogba fanned the flames by admitting: "Sometimes I dive, sometimes I stand.
Gale-force winds fanned the flames, burning pine trees and brush and sending smoke over the capital city enroute to destroying at least 10 houses and causing damage to dozens more.
The Angora Lakes resort and hundreds of homes in Meyers were evacuated as high winds fanned the flames.
This cyclonic storm with counterclockwise winds that would eventually reach 60 miles per hour fanned the flames of the persistent smaller forest fires into a larger conflagration.