Oil on troubled waters

Definitions

  • Pouring cold water on the troubled oil
    Pouring cold water on the troubled oil
  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Oil on troubled waters anything that allays or assuages, from the effect of pouring oil on rough water
    • ***

Idioms

Pour oil on troubled waters - If someone pours oil on troubled waters, they try to calm things down.
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. wæter; Dut. water, Ger. wasser; Gr. hydōr, L. udus, wet, unda, a wave, Sans. udan, water.

Usage

In literature:

But I have striven to drop oil on the troubled waters.
"To Have and To Hold" by Mary Johnston
It was like oil on troubled waters.
"Cast Adrift" by T. S. Arthur
My sudden presence on this scene was not exactly oil on troubled waters; it was gunpowder to fire.
"Seven Wives and Seven Prisons" by L.A. Abbott
Nancy remembered him of old, and resented the added work, and Dexie tried almost in vain to pour oil on the troubled waters.
"Miss Dexie" by Stanford Eveleth
His smooth, cool voice was like oil on troubled waters.
"The Young Pitcher" by Zane Grey
Mr. Cridge appears with a letter, throwing oil on the troubled waters, and the editor thinks enough has been said.
"Some Reminiscences of old Victoria" by Edgar Fawcett
But Jessie tried to pour oil on the troubled waters.
"The Campfire Girls of Roselawn" by Margaret Penrose
The old manufacturer always did his best to pour oil on these troubled waters, but he foresaw an eventual clash.
"Jennie Gerhardt" by Theodore Dreiser
In this trouble the peaceful Sarah would act as oil on troubled waters.
"The Hound From The North" by Ridgwell Cullum
Will the ballot in the hands of women pour oil on the troubled domestic waters?
"The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume V"
It spread over his perturbed thought like oil on troubled waters.
"Carmen Ariza" by Charles Francis Stocking
I think Dick poured oil on the troubled waters.
"The Squire's Daughter" by Archibald Marshall
Apparently satisfied with their work the destroyers cease fire; whether there is oil on their troubled waters we cannot see.
"Merchantmen-at-Arms" by David W. Bone
Golitzine hastened to pour oil on the troubled waters.
"The Intriguers" by William Le Queux
With Bill to pour oil on the troubled waters, strikes were narrowly averted.
"Jap Herron" by Emily Grant Hutchings
Katherine poured oil on the troubled waters.
"Briarwood Girls" by Julia Lestarjette Glover
The audience undertook to pour oil on the troubled waters but with no success.
"In the Onyx Lobby" by Carolyn Wells
Anne saw the look and comprehended at once, so she dropped oil on the troubled waters.
"Polly in New York" by Lillian Elizabeth Roy
Esther poured oil on the troubled waters; and Mrs. Murphy became so mollified she pressed Kenneth to stay to supper.
"The Angel of the Gila:" by Cora Marsland
Mrs. Evans and Gladys, with perfect courtesy, offered to drive her home in their car, and for the present oil was poured on the troubled waters.
"The Camp Fire Girls' Larks and Pranks" by Hildegard G. Frey
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In poetry:

The maid announced the meal in tones
That I myself had taught her,
Meant to allay my sister's moans
Like oil on troubled water:
I rushed to Jones, the lively Jones,
And begged him to escort her.
"Melancholetta" by Lewis Carroll