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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 is consequently ignored when he tries to alert them to a real wolf.
Audio (AU) (file)
- (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.
- 2021 July 17, Somini Sengupta, quoting Ulka Kelkar, “‘No One Is Safe’: Extreme Weather Batters the Wealthy World”, in The New York Times, →ISSN:
- These intensifying disasters now striking richer countries, she said, show that developing countries seeking the world’s help to fight climate change “have not been crying wolf.”
raise a false alarm