burn the water—(Fishermen) spear salmon by torchlight:
- Water-bailiffs are sent up the rivers at certain times to prevent “burning the water.”
Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase boil the ocean—try smth. way too ambitious that cannot reasonably be completed: Don’t attempt to boil the ocean.
- If your initial concept is so grandiose that you can’t deliver, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
set the Thames on fire—(usually negat.) do smth. remarkable and cause a sensation (also: set the world on fire):
- When Sir Gregory declared that Mr. Neverbend would never set the Thames on fire, he meant to express his opinion that that gentleman was a fool.