thin edge of the wedge

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thin edge of the wedge

  1. (idiomatic) Something that if allowed or accepted to a small degree would lead to systematic encroachment.
    • 1877 The Analyst, p. 381
      But the great difficulty was the getting in the thin edge of the wedge; when once they had anything to do with price they must apply it to everything.
    • 1903 Albert Shaw The American Monthly Review of Reviews, p. 196
      But at last the thin edge of the wedge of reform had been pushed in.
    • 1996, Dale Belman et al., Public Sector Employment in a Time of Transition, page 247:
      the thin edge of the wedge was further widened by the fact that a socialist party [...] broke precedent [...].