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Fight fire with fire

Posted by Lewis on October 27, 2005

In Reply to: Fight fire with fire posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 27, 2005

: : What does it mean to say "fight fire with fire"?
: - Sometimes, when fighting a forest fire, it's a good move to start a controlled fire yourself in order to create a strip of burnt ground to act as a firebreak. Thus to "fight fire with fire" is to counter a threat by responding in kind. For example, if someone starts a nasty rumour about you, you could "fight fire with fire" by starting a counter-rumour about them. (VSD)

a 'fire break' is a good example of literally fighting fire with fire, but metaphorically speaking it is often used quite emphatically so that the 'fire' is both the similarity of retaliation and the willpower/passion behind it.