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What is the meaning of the phrase "laying a fuse"?

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Do you mean "lighting a fuse"? –  user362 Oct 6 '10 at 13:51

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Literally, to lay a fuse means to place a cord that, when lit, conveys the fire to some explosive device. The next step, as Al Everett points out in his comment, would be to actually "light the fuse", which is the more common idiom for "preparing to cause trouble, trying to damage or ruin something".

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What comes to my mind is Wile E. Coyote pouring a trail of gunpowder on the floor leading up to a powder keg.

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