rub salt in(to) the/(one's) wound(s)

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rub salt in(to) the/(one's) wound(s)

To make something that is already difficult, unpleasant, or painful even worse; to accentuate, aggravate, or intensify a negative situation, emotion, or experience (for someone). After losing the championship match, it really rubbed salt in John's wound for his girlfriend to break up with him the next day. My pride was already hurting when I didn't get the job, but hearing that they gave it to Dave really rubbed salt into the wound. I can't believe you would ask me to pay you back on the day that I got laid off. Thanks for rubbing salt in my wounds, man.
See also: rub, salt

rub salt into the wound

or

rub salt in the wound

COMMON If someone or something rubs salt into the wound or in the wound, they make a situation that is already bad for a person seem even worse. I wasn't allowed to eat anything for 24 hours before the operation so I was really hungry and just to rub salt into the wound, had to sit there while Zoe ate the most delicious-looking pizza. The police rubbed salt in the wounds by waving money in the strikers' faces, a reminder of all the overtime they were earning.
See also: rub, salt, wound

rub salt into the (or someone's) wound

make a painful experience even more painful for someone.
See also: rub, salt, wound

rub ˈsalt into the wound/into somebody’s wounds

make somebody who is already feeling upset, angry, etc. about something feel even worse: She was already upset about not getting the job, but when they gave it to one of her own trainees it really rubbed salt into the wound.
See also: rub, salt, wound
References in classic literature ?
That was not what she had been used to see in her own father, who was the soberest and best man in that country-side, only a little hot and hasty now and then, if things were not done to the minute.
Gilbert had whisked the pin out of sight and was studying his history with the soberest face in the world; but when the commotion subsided he looked at Anne and winked with inexpressible drollery.
Take Mr Podsnap's word for it, and the soberest tints of drab, white, lilac, and grey, were all flaming red to this troublesome Bull of a young person.
Firstly, Islam4UK only wanted to march through Wootton Bassett for the sole purpose of causing trouble and to rub salt in the wounds of the relatives who have lost loved ones in this sickening war.
To rub salt in the wounds we, in Water Street, still suffer from the noise and pollution of buses that we can't get on "laying over", despite there being a massive bus station just down the road at Canning Place.
And to rub salt in the wounds, many of the 60,000 affected will never get their money back.
And to rub salt in the wounds the fuel companies this week announced annual profits of billions of pounds.
To rub salt in the wounds, South African back row player Rodney Prince broke his leg during training earlier in the week
And it must rub salt in the wounds to hear about the billions of pounds of profit their employer is making.
And just to rub salt in the wounds, Dons' old boy Mixu Paatelainen (right) grabbbed the Hibees' first leveller after Eoin Jess' opener.
Channel 5 will rub salt in the wounds of their telly rivals by using BBC gear to beam pictures from Parkhead on Saturday.