Add fuel to the fire

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


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  • Add-in

    a component, as a video card or chip, added to a computer to expand its capabilities. a small software program that adds a feature to another application. to unite or join so as to increase the number, quantity, size, or importance: to add two cups of sugar; to add a postscript to her letter; to […]

  • Add insult to injury

    Hurt a person’s feelings after doing him or her harm; also, make a bad situation worse. For example, Not only did the club refuse him, but it published a list of the rejected applicants—that’s adding insult to injury, or The nearest parking space was half a mile away, and then, to add insult to injury, […]

  • Add-on

    a device or unit added to equipment or a construction: an add-on to a computer; a nice add-on to an old house. an extra charge: Add-ons for taxes and tour guide fees boosted the price of the vacation to $2,500. an additional item, as a rider or provision: This is just another legislative add-on. anything […]

  • Add one’s two cents in

    add one’s two cents in Related Terms put one’s two cents in verb phrase To volunteer one’s advice, esp when it is not solicited; kibitz: If I may put my two cents in, I think we should shut up (1930s+)

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