add fuel to the flames

add fuel to the flames

Meaning:

  • an action, whether verbal or physical that makes a bad situation even worse
  • cause circumstances or dispute to become further excessive

Synonym:
aggravate, worsen, exacerbate

Example:

  1. The presidential candidate’s provocative speech in these violent times is only going to add fuel to the flames.
  2. At the time when both the friends are not on the talking terms, please do not add fuel to the flames by pitting them against each other.
  3. The administration has imposed the curfew in the city. Organizing a rally in such situation will only add fuel to the flames.
  4. Arresting the communal leader in such a tense situation will only add fuel to the flames.
  5. At the time she doubted him of cheating on her, seeing him with another girl only added fuel to the flames.
  6. His parents were already angry when he flunked the class. When they saw him drunk, it only added fuel to the flames.

Usage:
This phrase is used by people to describe a situation when matter is been made worse deliberately by somebody.

Origin:
People probably started to use given phrase metaphorically, observing the fact that addition of fuel, like petrol or wood, to already burning fire will make it burn more furiously.

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