light the fuse


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light the fuse

To do something that instigates or initiates some intense, dangerous, and widespread action or reaction. Many have accused the leader of lighting the fuse for war with his inflammatory remarks. The law seems poised to light the fuse for protests across the nation should it be passed.
See also: fuse, light

light the fuse

If someone or something lights the fuse, they do something which starts something dangerous or exciting. An outbreak of the virus could light the fuse on the world's next pandemic. This event might have lit the fuse which later led to a depressive breakdown. Note: The fuse referred to here is the type that is used to set off a firework or explosive device.
See also: fuse, light

light the (or a) fuse (or touchpaper)

do something that creates a tense or exciting situation.
The image here is of lighting a fuse attached to gunpowder, fireworks, etc. in order to cause an explosion. A touchpaper , which is used in the same way as a fuse, is a twist of paper impregnated with saltpetre to make it burn slowly.
1998 Times The rejection of global capitalism may light a touchpaper in all those countries battered by the crisis.
See also: fuse, light
References in periodicals archive ?
He was overpowered by some of the 197 passengers and crew aboard the American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, when he attempted to light the fuse to trigger explosives packed into his shoes.
But where Guy Fawkes had to light the fuse himself, IRA terrorist Patrick McGee planted the Grand Hotel bomb in Brighton three weeks before the Tory Conference was to begin in October 1984 and let modern technology do his work.
Reid was overpowered by passengers and crew when he attempted to light the fuse to trigger explosives packed into his shoes.
The statement, "At the next pep rally, I will throw a homemade pipe bomb filled with black powder after I light the fuse," would carry more weight than "An upcoming pep rally may be disrupted by our group carrying some high explosives, like gunpowder." In the latter example, the subject uses the passive tense "be disrupted" and equivocation in the statement through the qualifiers "may" and "some." This language suggests a lack of commitment on the subject's part.
A few moments later Reid was found to have lit a second match and was apparently attempting to light the fuse in his shoe.
US government officials believe the plan may have failed because he was unable to light the fuse, said Ms Cronin.
Gary MacKay was the last player to light the fuse on one of the great Euro glory nights at Tynecastle.