American Idioms – Idiom Wizard Lists Over 5,500 Idioms & Slang Descriptions

Pour oil on troubled waters

DEFINITION

Attempt to calm a troublesome situation or inflamed argument. Oil is heavier than H2O so it tends to flatten-out waves, so the metaphor explains a calming maneuver in a tense situation. (Compare to Keep one’s head or Simmer down.)

“The police put away their guns as they tried to pour oil on troubled waters during the Black Live Matter protest.”

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