Idiom:  twist the knife


Idiom:  twist the knife (in the wound)

  • to make a situation worse for someone who's already having problems or difficulties
  • to make someone more annoyed, angry or upset

Note:  When you stab someone with a knife it makes an opening or wound. If you then twist or turn the knife it will make the wound larger and cause greater damage and greater suffering.

Example sentences

— It was one thing to fire me, but to do it in front of everyone really twisted the knife.

— Please don’t say anything else—you can see she feels terrible about what she did so there’s no need to twist the knife.

— My ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend gave her a kiss when he saw me just to twist the knife in the wound.

— My sister is so jealous that I'm pretty but I get bad acne sometimes and she always tries to twist the knife when I get a new pimple.

— Did you really have to twist the knife by bragging that you got 98% correct when you knew Allen failed the test?

— Don't have mercy when the score is 6-0, 5-0. Just twist the knife in the wound and finish the tennis match 6-0, 6-0.

— I don't want to twist the knife but not only is your ex-husband not thinking about you, he's also flirting with another woman at this party.

— Don't you think boasting about getting into Yale is twisting the knife when everyone else was rejected?

— It's bad enough I forgot to thank our main sponsor but my boss keeps twisting the knife talking about it all the time.

— My parents took my phone away because of poor grades and my friends are twisting the knife by sending each other texts and laughing in front of me.


  • turn the knife
  • add fuel to the fire
  • make matters worse
  • make things worse
  • add insult to injury
  • rub salt in the wound
  • hit a raw nerve
  • touch a raw nerve

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