to fight fire with fire

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - fight fire with fire

"to fight fire with fire"

to retaliate in the same or similar manner to methods being used against you


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - fight fire with fire

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Have you seen the latest advertisements from our competitors?

Colleague 2:  Do you mean the ones where they show all the negative aspects of our product compared to theirs?

Colleague 1:  I think that is terrible and that we should retaliate with even stronger ads showing all of our competitor's really weak areas.

Colleague 2:  You mean fight fire with fire?

Colleague 1:  Exactly. We can't just let them win.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - fight fire with fire

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  You are looking a little tired. Is everything alright?

Friend 2:  I haven't been getting much sleep lately.

Friend 1:  Still those noisy neighbors playing their loud music late into the night?

Friend 2:  Yes. You know, I tried to be diplomatic and talk calmly and rationally to the neighbors. I tried to explain how I believe everyone has the right to enjoy their lives but that their loud music was causing me to lose sleep. They ignored me so I decided to fight fire with fire.

Friend 1:  You played your music even louder than theirs?

Friend 2:  Exactly but then they just turned theirs up louder so I had to turn mine up louder until the police arrived with a noise complaint from another neighbor.

to fight fire with fire - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   330   click for frequency by country

to fight fire with fire - Gerund Form:

Fighting fire with fire is often the only way to win when sustaining an unprovoked attack.

to fight fire with fire - Examples:

1)  The more resourceful of them will fight fire with fire by creating their own low-cost HE-lite subsidiaries to compete with the challenger providers ...

2)  ... in behavioural sciences and in Church, we teach that you can't fight fire with fire. But I am not using a water pistol in facing a gunman.

3)  The problem we face is that the union leaders are not willing to fight fire with fire. The bosses and governments have ramped up their aggression against unions with ...

4)  ... realised that her version of the story needed telling. She had to fight fire with fire. For every OPS sound-byte, there is now a counter from her.

5)  One thing I think we did really well was to fight fire with fire. We were not willing to take a backward step even after getting ...

6)  ... he said earlier this week that he supports water-boarding because "we have to fight fire with fire". 

7)  Don't fight fire with fire. Positive-sum cooperation is a fragile equilibrium. 

8)  ... as far as I'm concerned, we have to fight fire with fire... we're not playing on an even field.

9)  People who fight fire with fire when confronted with offensive language are also only going to escalate matters, ...

10)  Should the left fight fire with fire -- or will that make things even more toxic?

11)  ... also said it would fight fire with fire by occupying the classrooms of those teachers until replacements had been appointed.

12)  ... the most popular policy is to fight fire with fire; namely, by recruiting' progressive' clerics to our own cause ...

13)  ... unqualified police big guns, teaching them to kick down citizens' doors and fight fire with fire. Thank God we don't yet have to fight suicide bombers.

14)  ... a fine compliment by changing his formation for this match, choosing to fight fire with fire by playing three defenders at the back like his Italy counterpart.

15)  We can not fight fire with fire. We have to promote education.

16)  ... campaign has decided that it wants to fight fire with fire when it comes to online trolls.

17)  ... some who believe that there comes a time when you should, or must fight fire with fire if you hope to survive.

18)  Don't be silly and think that you can fight fire with fire. You'd do better to counter with honest emotion.

19)  ... the battering ram performances of France in their first three matches and decided to fight fire with fire, or should that be muscle with muscle.

20)  ... the most extreme provocation. But sometimes, only sometimes, you have to fight fire with fire.