(throw/pour) gas on the fire


1. say or do something to make a bad situation worse






Check Icon How to Memorize

his/her comments poured more gas on the fire

Check Icon Analysis

This expression adapts the fact that gas makes a fire burn more furiously, to express inflaming an already intense situation, or further upsetting a person or group who is/are already angry. It can often be done as an accident due to a slip of the tongue or an error of judgement, but sometimes is the result of a deliberate and calculated act. The expression is common in both a social and professional situation, and may sometimes be altered to 'add fuel to the fire,' particularly in the UK.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. Let's not bring up the argument we had with Paul last week when we meet him. There's no need to pour any more gas on that fire.
  2. There are many rumours going around but let's establish the facts before we start pouring gas on the fire.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. Staff were already angry about the cost-cutting measures that had been introduced, so news that the CEO had given himself a large bonus really threw gas on the fire.
  2. Alice decided to pour gas on the fire of her strained relationship with Tom by getting him into trouble during the performance review.

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