rub salt in the wound

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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Alternative forms[edit]


Derived from the stinging sensation of salt deliberately being rubbed into an open, bleeding wound.


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rub salt in the wound

  1. (idiomatic) to make an injury, physical or emotional, feel worse
    Synonyms: add insult to injury, kick someone when they are down, twist the knife, rub it in

Usage notes[edit]

  • For rub, one can substitute verbs such as add, pour, put, possibly requiring a change in the preposition in.
  • See salt in the wound for variations in that portion of the expression.