fan the flames

Intensify or stir up feelings; exacerbate an explosive situation. For example, She already found him attractive, but his letters really fanned the flames, or His speech fanned the flames of racial dissension.


Nearby words

  1. fan magazine,
  2. fan mail,
  3. fan palm,
  4. fan roof,
  5. fan tan,
  6. fan tracery,
  7. fan vault,
  8. fan vaulting,
  9. fan window,
  10. fan worm

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