my lungs are on fire

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I can't keep going. I think my lungs are on fire.

I know the litteral meanings of the underlined parts, but one's lungs couldn't be on fire in fact. So what's the firguratiive or metaphorical meaning? My lungs are in great pain/too excited/couldn't stand it? I'm not sure exactly.
  • Orange Blossom

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    When you have exercised so hard, often in activities such as running and biking, that your breathing is labored your lungs often have a burning sensation so that they feel as though they are on fire. Cold weather can produce this effect too.

    Orange Blossom


    Senior Member
    American English
    One question at a time, quietdandelion!

    Yes--just as your diaphragm is doing everything to keep pulling in air to literally burn calories in your lungs to keep your body oxygenated, your lungs are on fire. When the badminton player is doing everything to keep the shuttlecock off the floor on his side of the net, and doing a very good job of giving his opponent a run for his money, he is "on fire." It can also be used to describe a team, someone who cleans up on the stock market, or a preacher in a pulpit.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    In a basketball game if someone scores 50 points, they are "on fire."
    The same can be true for someone who scores alot or has an amazing performance in any sport.
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