tiger by the tail

Idioms & Phrases

tiger by the tail

Something too difficult to manage or cope with, as in You know nothing about the commodities market; you'll end up catching a tiger by the tail. This colorful metaphor conjures up the image of grabbing a powerful but fierce animal by the tail, only to have it turn on one. [Second half of 1900s]

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