Out of the frying pan and into the fire

Out of the frying pan and into the fire is a proverb. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase that may be a famous quote, an inspirational quote, an epigram, or the topic of a parable. These common sayings are language tools or figures of speech that particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself because these common phrases and popular sayings are so well known. Certain phrases may be a metaphor or a quotation; but if it is a proverb, it is often-used and has a figurative meaning. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these pithy sayings as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are the wise sayings better late than never; early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise; an apple a day keeps the doctor away; don’t cry over spilt milk; actions speak louder than words; haste makes waste, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth; and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the proverb out of the frying pan and into the fire, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire describes a situation in which one escapes a bad situation, only to become enmeshed in an even worse situation. For instance, if one quits a stressful job to take another one that ends up being even more stressful, one may have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. The sentiment the phrase portrays goes back to ancient times. Germanicus Caesar, who lived 15 B.C. – 19 A.D., noted a proverb that spoke of running from the smoke into the flame. Thomas More is credited with being the first to use the proverb in English in his pamphlet, The Confutacyon of Tyndales Answere, written in 1532: “He has, by his false reproach of trickery, conveyed himself out of the frying pan into the fire.” The term out of the frying pan and into the fire has skyrocketed in popularity since the 1980s; often, only the first half is quoted, out of the frying pan, with the expectation that the listener or reader can supply the rest of the proverb for himself.


With the Canaries rock bottom of the top flight after managing just one win so far this season under Daniel Farke – a 2-1 win at Brentford at the weekend, which ended up being the German’s last game in charge – Smith would be going out of the frying pan and into the fire if he does take over the Premier League strugglers. (Birmingham Mail)

Rapidly shrinking glaciers, extreme weather and increased climate events including floods and droughts, are among the foreboding events of a rapidly warming region that could soon find itself thrust out of the frying pan into the fire, on more fronts than one. (East African)

For a young South Medford football team, so far it’s been a season that can only be described as out of the frying pan and into the fire. (Mail Tribune)

Leave a Comment