add fuel to the fire

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add fuel to the fire (third-person singular simple present adds fuel to the fire, present participle adding fuel to the fire, simple past and past participle added fuel to the fire)

  1. (idiomatic) To worsen a conflict between people; to inflame an already tense situation.
    Synonyms: add insult to injury, fan the flames; see also Thesaurus:make matters worse
    Antonyms: pour oil on troubled waters, clear the air
    Instead of apologizing to his girlfriend, he decided to add fuel to the fire.
    • 1839, Charles Dodd, edited by Mark Aloysius Tierney, Dodd's Church History of England, volume 2:
      But this had no effect, only to add fuel to the fire; so that, at last, both parties were so exasperated, that, had not the magistrates of Frankfort (who were now head of the English reformed church) interposed, they were on the point of coming to blows.
    • 1891, The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art, volume 54:
      [] and to admit women into active participation in politics will certainly be to increase disorder and add fuel to the fire of strife.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:add fuel to the fire.
  2. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see add,‎ fuel,‎ fire.

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