What does the idiom "Out of the frying pan and into the fire" mean?
Idioms are generally defined as groups of words that form a meaningful whole when they come together, even though the words in them do not make sense on their own. They have produced many idioms according to their own cultural characteristics in communities using the English language. What does Out of the frying pan and into the fire mean? In what situations is Out of the frying pan and into the fire used?
Meaning of "Out of the frying pan and into the fire"
The idiom “out of the frying pan and into the fire” is a phrase used to describe a situation in which a person goes from a difficult situation to an even worse one. This phrase is used to point out how someone may have made a seemingly positive decision only to end up in a more difficult position.
The origins of this phrase can be traced back to the 16th century in versions of a Latin proverb, “De jure belli ac pacis”, which is translated to “from the frying pan and into the fire”. The phrase evolved over time and was commonly used during the 17th century. By the mid-19th century, it had been shortened to its current form as an idiom.
This phrase is used in conversation to illustrate a situation in which a person gets themselves into a more difficult or unfavorable situation by attempting to improve their current state. While the phrase is often used to describe our own decisions, it can be used to critique the decisions of others. It may also be used to indicate that someone is in a difficult or awkward situation, and is likely seeking a way out.
- After getting fired from his job, he thought starting his own business would be a good idea. Now he’s realized he’s gone from the frying pan and into the fire.
- I was in a difficult negotiation, but I thought I had an out when I switched to a different representative. Little did I know I was stepping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
- It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it looks like I’ve gone from the frying pan and into the fire.
The power of idioms transcends languages!
"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.