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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rub salt in a wound

Fig. to deliberately make someone's unhappiness, shame, or misfortune worse. Don't rub salt in the wound by telling me how enjoyable the party was. Bill is feeling miserable about losing his job and Bob is rubbing salt into the wound by saying how good his replacement is.
See also: rub, salt, wound
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

rub salt into the (or someone's) wound

make a painful experience even more painful for someone.
See also: rub, salt, wound
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
But waving goodbye to one of their best players too, striker Chris Kane returning to parent club St Johnstone after a successful loan spell, must only have rubbed salt in the wounds. But Lee Mair insists spirits remain high in the Sons camp as they gear up for today's trip to Raith Rovers.
TV replays showed the offending mitt belonged to Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz who rubbed salt in the wounds by converting the kick himself.
Vale again played the better football in the second-half, but Forest rubbed salt in the wounds in the fourth minute of stoppage-time when Nathan Tyson sprung the off-side trap, skated around Goodlad and scored the second.
Boulton struck again on the hour and, when Bay's young heads dropped, the result was never in doubt - and a late own-goal by John Williams just rubbed salt in the wounds
Crewe rubbed salt in the wounds to wrap up the game with two goals six minutes either side of the break from Rodney Jack and Kenny Lunt.
And if that was not enough, the actions of the Prenton Park ballboys rubbed salt in the wounds.