play with fire


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play with fire

To do something that risks causing one harm, damage, or misfortune; to do something dangerous. They're playing with fire if they think they can get away with dodging these corporate taxes. Jen swears she's being safe when she experiments with drugs, but I think she's playing with fire.
See also: fire, play
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play with fire

 
1. Lit. to use fire as a toy; to experiment with flames and fire. Jimmy! I've told you never to play with fire!
2. Fig. to do something dangerous or risky. (Usually playing with fire.) Be careful with that knife! You are playing with fire! If you mess with Max, you are playing with fire.
See also: fire, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

play with fire

Take part in a dangerous undertaking, as in You're playing with fire if you go behind his back and commit his department. Although the idea behind this metaphor is ancient, it was first recorded only in 1655.
See also: fire, play
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

play with fire

take foolish risks.
See also: fire, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

play with ˈfire

take unnecessary and dangerous risks: Be very careful, Mike. You’re playing with fire.If you ask me she’s playing with fire, getting involved with a married man.
See also: fire, play
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

play with fire

in. to do something dangerous or risky. Going out at night in a neighborhood like that is playing with fire.
See also: fire, play
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

play with fire

To take part in a dangerous or risky undertaking.
See also: fire, play
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

play with fire, to

To court danger. This metaphor has been around for hundreds of years. Poet Henry Vaughan put it this way in 1655 (The Garland): “I played with fire, did counsell spurn . . . But never thought that fire would burn.”
See also: play, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"If somebody is very eager to use force to wipe out North Korea, as the United States' UN envoy has said (a very bloodthirsty tirade it was), I believe that it was a big mistake and an attempt to play with fire," he said, TASS reported.
Summary: Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], Sep 16 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday warned the Bharatiya Janata Party and its affiliate organisations such as RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad over playing dirty politics during Durga Puja, asking them "not to play with fire".
Careful who you play with fire with next time, Galal!
There is no suggestion this caused the accident, but the bar was also still advertising [euro]20 classes, promising: "You will get a chance to make your own cocktails even play with fire!"
And we know that you will be only too willing to support our "Don't Play With Fire" campaign - because it's a matter of life and death.
As they say, if you play with fire, you get burned.
In any given community there exists a constant threat from young people who play with fire. Children who play with fire do so for various reasons, ranging from natural curiosity to attention-seeking.
AT FIRST thought, letting children play with fire seems highly irresponsible.