The Fat is in the Fire

This phrase was easy to track down on the internet. It means “a course of action with inevitable bad consequences has begun. The allusion to fat dropping into a fire and causing a burst of flames was already a proverb in John Heywood’s 1546 collection.” (

Times of India adds that “in its earliest use (14th century), the expression had to do with failure; only later did it come to imply, as it now does, a crisis or an explosion of anger, recrimination or trouble.”

The phrase originated when fat was valued – I suppose a modern dieter might want fat to burned off!

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About Ponderer

Ponderer also writes science fiction and science-inspired rhyming poetry. Check her out at She worked at Rocky Flats for 22 years - you may know her as Kathy London.

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