What Does the Expression “Fight Fire With Fire” Mean and Where Did the Idiom Come From?

The phrase “fighting fire with fire” means to meet a challenge with measures at least equal to the problem being confronted.

The expression originates from a method still used to fight forest fires and serious grass fires.

Settlers in the New World learned quickly to set fire to a strip of land in the wind path of an advancing prairie fire.

what does the expression fight fire with fire mean and where did the idiom come from

By the time the wild fire reached the now-barren burned-off strip, it was stopped when it had nothing to feed on.

This procedure is very dangerous when not practiced by an expert.

American writer Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), better known as Mark Twain, reported hearing the phrase during the 1850s.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.