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