cry wolf

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf, where a little boy amuses himself by crying "wolf" to see the panic he causes in the community, but consequently does not get help when a real wolf appears.

Verb[edit]

cry wolf (third-person singular simple present cries wolf, present participle crying wolf, simple past and past participle cried wolf)

  1. (idiomatic) To raise a false alarm; to constantly warn others about an imagined threat, thereby failing to get assistance when a real threat appears.
    The politicians would cry wolf at the slightest provocation so when the real threat appeared no one believed them.

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