tail wagging the dog, the

Idioms & Phrases

tail wagging the dog, the

A small or unimportant factor or element governing an important one; a reversal of the proper roles. For example, She found herself explaining the new therapy to her doctora real case of the tail wagging the dog. [c. 1900]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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