What does the idiom "Add insult to injury" mean?

The expression Add insult to injury is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the Add insult to injury idiom.

Meaning of "Add insult to injury"


The phrase "add insult to injury" is an English idiom used to describe when someone makes a situation even worse than it already is. It suggests that a second wrong has been committed, in addition to the initial wrong, and that the victim of the wrong has faced more suffering because of it.


The origins of the phrase "add insult to injury" can be traced back to the 14th century Latin phrase "injuria cum injuria addita." This phrase is believed to have been coined by the Roman poet Juvenal and means "with an injustice added to an existing injustice." It was eventually translated into the English phrase "adding insult to injury."


The phrase "add insult to injury" is generally used to express the idea that someone has compounded a bad situation by making it worse. It can be used in a variety of situations and contexts, including conversations about a current problem or situation, to describe a difficult situation someone might be facing, or to describe a situation in which one person has wronged another in some way.

Example Sentences

  • After our team lost the championship game, the coach added insult to injury by blaming the players for their mistakes.
  • Jane was already having a difficult time with her job and then her boss added insult to injury by asking her to do an extra project.
  • Jim felt like he'd been wronged by his colleague and then it was added insult to injury when the colleague started spreading rumors about Jim.

The meanings of the words in the "Add insult to injury" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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