Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire

Meaning of Idiom ‘Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire’ To be out of the frying pan into the fire means to have escaped from a bad or dangerous situation only to find themselves in a worse one. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth M. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms. Ware: Wordsworth, 1995.,3Jarvie, … Read more

Hang Fire

This rarely heard idiom has existed since the early 1800’s. Meaning As an idiom, to hangfire (or hang fire) means to delay an action or to be delayed in an accomplishment or action; to come to no distinct result; to fail to achieve an expected result. Origin The literal meaning of hangfire or hang-fire comes … Read more

Go Down In Flames

To go down in flames is a common English idiom that has several versions, including go up in flames, go up in smoke, and go down in smoke. The expression is also interesting in that, while most idioms don’t share any real-world cognates, go down in flames could easily be confused with a literal event, describing a building being destroyed by fire. … Read more

Flash in the Pan, a

A flash in the pan is a common idiomatic expression which has its origins in the 16th century. Meaning of Flash in the Pan When we say something is a flash in the pan, we mean that it is a sudden success or effort that which is brief and unlikely to happen again. Usually, the expression is … Read more

Fan the Flames

Used metaphorically since the 1700’s, in phrases such as “fan the flames of discontent,” “fan the flames of insurrection,” or “fan the flames of love.” Meaning To fan the flames is to cause an emotion, especially a negative one, to become stronger or to incite someone to increase negative activities by causing them to become … Read more

Draw Fire

Meaning of Idiom ‘Draw Fire’ To draw fire is to attract criticism or hostility, often from a more powerful person or organization or a large group. Usage “The President draws fire from conservatives for his social positions.” “The companies ill-consider television commercial drew fire from all quarters.” Origin Draw, in this idiom, is used to … Read more

Backfire (on someone)

Meaning of Idiom ‘To Backfire (on someone)’ When something, such as a plot, plan, project, situation, or idea unexpectedly produces a bad result which harms the person carryng out the plot, plan, idea, etc. it is said to have backfired on that person; a failure which results in an undersired result.1Spears, Richard A., and Luc Nisset. McGraw-Hill’s … Read more