Imagine something is smoldering. If someone blows (supplies additional oxygen) at this object the right way, the fire will increase. Note that if you blow too strongly, the fire may extinguish.

The same effect happens in forest fires when the wind sometimes makes a small fire large.

What is the expression for increasing the intensity of a fire by blowing at it?

Usage in a sentence:

Autumn winds [...] the fire of their love.

This means that in summer the involved parties were slightly attracted to each other (low intensity of fire), then the autumn came, and thereafter they've fallen in love with each other completely (high intensity of fire).

Candidates I found:

  • to blow the fire
  • to fan the fire

Russian equivalent: раздувать огонь

1 Answer 1


"Fan the flames" is the version I am most familiar with, and seems the most common.

I haven't heard "blow the fire" but it is also common and seems to appear in a few song lyrics.

  • Almost anything can appear in song lyrics, and I even think my "almost" is unduly restrictive. May 20, 2018 at 7:53
  • True enough. What I meant was that the songs could account for why it is (or was) a common phrase (even though I have never heard it as a set phrase).
    – user184130
    May 20, 2018 at 8:43

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