add fuel to the fire


Also, add fuel to the flames. Worsen an already bad situation, as by increasing anger, hostility, or passion, as in Bill was upset, and your making fun of his mishap just added fuel to the fire. This metaphor dates from Roman times—Livy used it in his history of Rome—and it remains in common use. For similar metaphors, see add insult to injury; fan the flames.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON THESE WORDS FROM BROWN GIRL DREAMING!

Visualize yourself passing this quiz on words from Jacqueline Woodson’s exquisite verse novel “Brown Girl Dreaming,” and then take the quiz to prove you can do it! (Because you can.)
Question 1 of 10
What does “barren” mean?

Words nearby add fuel to the fire

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.