Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(throw/pour) gas on the fire

throw gas on the firepour gas on the fire
Meaning(s)
1) say or do something to make a bad situation worse
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • his/her comments poured more gas on the fire
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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