Idiom: To add fuel to the fire - To do or say something to make a problem or bad situation worse; to further anger a person or group of people who are already angry
Dan: Hey, Juan. Did you see the huge fight at the soccer match last night?
Juan: No, I didn’t. What happened?
Dan: Well, the home team was losing badly, but the visiting team was really playing dirty. The crowd was already angry.
Juan: Well, that’s understandable.
Dan: But then the fans from the visiting team started laughing and taunting the home team crowd by calling them names like “losers.” Of course, this only added fuel to the fire and the crowd got even angrier.
Juan: Wow! So the crowd attacked the visiting team’s fans?
Dan: Yep! The crowd started throwing things at the fans and then even punched some of them!
Juan: Well, I guess that is what happens when you add fuel to the fire, especially in front of a crowd of people!
Samira: Did you see the president’s speech last night about the conflict going on right now?
Polly: Yes, I did. Unfortunately, I think the president only added fuel to the fire because now the situation is even worse and the countries in the conflict are even more hostile.
Samira: I agree. What was the president thinking? He needs to be more diplomatic in his words in order to calm the situation down.
Polly: Right! Hopefully, he will be more careful in his next speech and try to predict peace instead of war.
Samira: Well, we can only hope. It seems like this president enjoys adding fuel to the fire. It’s good for his ratings.
Meaning: To add fuel to the fire means to make a situation worse or to further anger a person or group of people. In context 1, the fans from the visiting team added fuel to the fire, or made the home team crowd even angrier, by calling the crowd names. In context 2, the president made the conflict even worse by not using diplomatic language or language that would make the situation calmer