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
References in periodicals archive ?
But he said the US was making it clear to Iran that "obviously fanning the flames or contributing to it by any party is not welcome to us".
To the above-mentioned, stop fanning the flames of racial hatred.
State Department, Jennifer Bsaki said at a news conference, in Washington, regarding Al-Malki's offensive against the Kingdom is clearly hostile and inaccurate, accusing Al-Malki on fanning the flames of sectarianism in Iraq.
Strong winds made the situation worse by fanning the flames.
Strong winds have been fanning the flames on moors above Cold Edge Road, Wainstalls, since Saturday, West Yorkshire Fire Service said.
Walkers is fanning the flames of World Cup fever with 15 new crisp flavours inspired by food from participating countries.
Yedinak's experiments often focus on two important factors that cause a wildfire to spread: the speed and direction of the winds that are fanning the flames and the slope of the terrain across which the fire is spreading.
And, they fear, it is dangerously fanning the flames of hate.
The wind was fanning the flames, but fortunately the smoke was blown out to sea and away from homes.
It would undermine key pillars of our constitution and risks fanning the flames of English nationalism.
In this climate, newspapers and television stations are sensationalists fanning the flames and pirate radio stations are simply "communication tools".
Of course, the Times columnist wasn't alone in fanning the flames of the anti-NCLB hysteria, but his influential columns made it easier for city officials to avoid talking about the real reasons for the problems, namely, a demographic bubble that was moving its way through the city's middle and high schools, combined with the city's new initiative to create experimental "schools within schools" in certain buildings, a policy that required a cap on enrollment in some schools at the cost of crowding elsewhere.
The media seems only concerned with fanning the flames of a yet another crusade championed by the likes of the socially conscious news manipulators at CNN and USA Today--who incidentally are never known to apologize afterwards when facts leak out, painting them wrong.
Let me say clearly that I believe far too much energy is going into fanning the flames of argument on these matters that divide us, taking our attention away from the critical needs of evangelism and mission.
Martinez has seemed at times to be a kind of political pyromaniac, less interested in putting out fires or harnessing their energy than in fanning the flames and basking in their glow.