tempt fate

Idioms & Phrases

tempt fate

Also, tempt the fates. Take a severe risk, as in It's tempting fate to start up that mountain so late in the day, or Patrice thought driving that old car was tempting the fates; it was sure to break down. This expression uses tempt in the sense of "test in a way that involves risk or danger." Earlier idioms with a similar meaning were tempt God, dating from the 1300s, and tempt fortune, first recorded in 1603, with fate appearing about 1700.

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