Pour cold water on and throw cold water on

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Pour cold water on and throw cold water on are two versions of an idiom that dates back a few hundred years. We will examine the meaning of the common idioms pour cold water on and throw cold water on, where they came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Pour cold water on something and throw cold water on something mean to dampen enthusiasm for something, to deter or discourage someone from doing something or believing something. The expressions pour cold water on and throw cold water on came into use around 1800 and refer to putting out a fire by pouring water on it and waking someone up by throwing cold water in his or her face. Related phrases are pours cold water on, poured cold water on, pouring cold water on, throws cold water on, threw cold water on, thrown cold water on, throwing cold water on.


Inflation could pour cold water on Bank of Canada’s hot-economy strategy (Reuters)

Leaders pour cold water on Obongi ferry relocation plan (Daily Monitor)

Acting Mayor Kim Janey appeared to throw cold water on the idea of following New York City’s lead and mandating proof of vaccines for various indoor activities — and she referenced slavery, the Jim Crow era and former President Donald Trump in talking it down. (Boston Herald)

And at a time media merger activity is heating up, executives from Comcast sought to throw cold water on the notion that the Philadelphia entertainment giant might be looking to do a transformative new deal. (Variety)