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 ?
It would have been rubbing salt in the wound as she had been in Charles and Diana's marriage from day one.
Inmate Jamie Chapman complained that donning Father Christmas-style headgear was "rubbing salt in the wound" of inmates who were missing relatives during the festive season.
Incidentally, the term "rubbing salt in the wound" originates from the practice of Royal Naval surgeons, who would rub salt into the wounds of flogged sailors.
This clearly amounts to rubbing salt in the wounds of the countless pensioners who have been endeavouring without success for their retirement benefits for the past many years.
Ex-employee Joanne Reeves, 31, who worked at the Newcastle store for 11 years, said: "It is rubbing salt in the wounds. A lot of people gave the best years of their lives to BHS."
Thank you Clr Andrew Cooper for rubbing salt in the wounds of hard working folk, what is going on with you guys?
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