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 ?
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.
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.
Another report in the same issue indicates that the cerebral havoc wreaked by this gene may jack up the severity of alcoholism, rather than light the fuse of alcohol abuse.
The numbers confirm our instincts that the market for great songs -- those songs that stay with listeners for a lifetime -- is ready for popular explosion, and we plan to light the fuse.
GORDON Brown is to set out his own "personal manifesto" as he prepares to light the fuse to his leadership bid.