he'd burn water trying to boil it

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Senior Member
Enders was not built for hard work, and although it was only noon, he looked hot and tired and almost fagged out.
Gardener nodded toward him. ‘Not bad,’ he said. ‘Better than Tremain, anyway. Tremain’d burn water trying to boil it.’
Source: The Tommyknockers by Stephen King

What does the bolded expression mean?

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  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Tremain is so wholly incompetent at practical tasks that if you asked him to boil water he would burn it. This is hyperbole - water doesn't burn.
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