What does “add insult to injury” mean?

Explore the meaning of this popular English idiom, used to describe situations where someone makes a bad situation even worse. Learn its origin and synonyms.

Understanding the Idiom

Add insult to injury is a popular English idiom that is used to describe a situation where someone makes a bad situation even worse by doing or saying something that is hurtful or insulting.

In simple terms, it means to make a bad situation worse.

Definition and Usage

The phrase “add insult to injury” is used when someone is already in a difficult situation and then another negative event occurs, making the situation even worse.

It is often used to describe a situation where someone is already feeling down, and then someone else says or does something that makes them feel even worse.

For example, if someone loses their job and then their partner breaks up with them, it would be described as adding insult to injury.

Another example would be if someone is already feeling sick and then they get into a car accident on the way to the doctor.

Etymology

The origin of the phrase “add insult to injury” can be traced back to ancient Roman times.

The phrase was first used by the Roman poet Phaedrus in his book of fables, where he wrote “to add insult to injury is to rub salt into the wound.”

Over time, the phrase became a popular idiom in the English language, and it is now widely used to describe situations where someone makes a bad situation even worse.

Examples

  • After losing his job, John’s landlord increased his rent, adding insult to injury.
  • Sarah’s car broke down on the way to her job interview, and to add insult to injury, it started to rain.
  • Not only did the team lose the game, but the coach also criticized them in front of the crowd, adding insult to injury.

Are “Add Insult to Injury” and “Strike While the Iron is Hot” Both Idioms?

“Add insult to injury” and “strike while the iron is hot” are both idioms in the English language.

The meaning of “strike while the iron is hot” is to take advantage of a favorable opportunity while it lasts. “Add insult to injury” means to make a bad situation even worse.

Synonyms

  • Kick someone when they’re down
  • Pour salt on the wound
  • Rub salt in the wound

In summary, the idiom “add insult to injury” is a common phrase in the English language that describes a situation where someone makes a bad situation even worse.

It can be traced back to ancient Roman times and is widely used in modern times.