I work at a hotel. I sent a cheaper booking quote to a lady and she paid the amount specified.

Afterwards, upon contacting her, she refused to pay the original correct amount and demanded a stay. To add insult to injury, she has cancer and needd to stay in a bigger room.

Is this a harsh idiomatic expression?

English is my second language and my boss is a native Australian (he's living here in Brazil), I suppose by explaining this to him in this way might look very harsh.

  • 5
    I think the idiom does not suit well in the context. Nov 22, 2019 at 17:13
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    Your example isn't a good one. By any normal standards, having cancer is a pretty serious "injury", and by comparison, being hassled about a hotel booking is a relatively trivial insulting, demeaning experience. So your "adding" is the wrong way round. Nov 22, 2019 at 17:14
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    You say she paid the amount specified and later refused to pay the original price. Why should she, unless she wants a bigger room, in which case you would re-quote her. Same room, is the price quoted. Different room, new price. Nov 22, 2019 at 17:47
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    I don't think it makes sense to describe the original amount as "correct", because that implies the amount she paid was incorrect when it wasn't: she paid what was agreed. Cancer is, obviously, not a good thing, but I don't see why it is relevant to hotel prices. This isn't the sort of situation where "to add insult to injury" applies. In situations where it does apply the expression is not harsh.
    – nnnnnn
    Nov 22, 2019 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


The meaning of "add insult to injury" in the Cambridge Dictionary is:

said when you feel that someone has made a bad situation worse by doing something else to upset you

The way it might be used in your situation would be:

She's suffering from cancer, and to add insult to injury we increased the price of her hotel room.

A phrase that might be more appropriate regarding the bigger room would be "to make matters worse":

Not only did we quote her the wrong price, but to make matters worse she has cancer and needs a bigger room.

  • It resembles the saying "Pour oil in fire", an Indian saying.
    – Ram Pillai
    Nov 23, 2019 at 2:52
  • that's an American idiom, too.
    – Barmar
    Nov 23, 2019 at 8:12

Without understanding exactly what your disagreement is about, I'd suggest, "To aggravate the situation...."

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