tiger

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tiger team

business jargon A team of highly skilled professionals who are assembled to investigate, test, or try to exploit the potential weaknesses of a company's or organization's security system. The tech giant has begun recruiting coders and hackers fresh out of college into tiger teams to stress test vulnerabilities in their new operating system.
See also: team, tiger

paper tiger

A nation or organization that gives the impression that it is threatening or powerful when, in reality, is not. Many people see North Korea as nothing more than a paper tiger, despite its threats against other countries. The new management team tries to command respect through lots of blustery speeches, but all of us workers just see it as a paper tiger.
See also: paper, tiger

have a tiger by the tail

 and have got a tiger by the tail; have a bear by the tail
Fig. to have become associated with something powerful and potentially dangerous; to have a very difficult problem to solve. You have a tiger by the tail. You bit off more than you could chew. You've had a bear by the tail ever since you agreed to finish that big project.
See also: have, tail, tiger

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.

Prov. Sometimes it is more dangerous to stop doing a dangerous thing than it is to continue doing it. Jill: You shouldn't take out another loan. You're already too far in debt. Jane: If I don't take out a loan, I can't make the payments on the loans I already have. You know how it is—she who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
See also: afraid, dismount, he, ride, tiger, who

leopard cannot change its spots, a

Also, the tiger cannot change its stripes. One can't change one's essential nature. For example, He's a conservative, no matter what he says; the leopard cannot change its spots. These metaphoric expressions both originated in an ancient Greek proverb that appears in the Bible (Jeremiah 13:23): "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" It was first recorded in English in 1546.
See also: cannot, change, leopard

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]
See also: tail, tiger

a paper tiger

If you describe a person, country, or organization as a paper tiger, you mean that although they seem to be powerful, they do not really have any power. Unless the assembly has the power to fire the mayor, it will prove to be nothing but a paper tiger. She had shown the country to be a paper tiger, incapable of defending its territories. Note: This is an old Chinese expression which Chairman Mao applied to the United States in the 1950s.
See also: paper, tiger

a paper tiger

an apparently dangerous but actually ineffectual person or thing.
This expression became well known in the West from its use by Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communist leader. In an interview in 1946 , he expressed the view that ‘all reactionaries are paper tigers’.
1998 Oldie We fear that the Rail Regulator and the Consultative Committee are paper tigers and a waste of time.
See also: paper, tiger

have (or catch) a tiger by the tail

= ride a tiger.
A similar difficulty confronts those who have a wolf by the ears (see wolf).
1979 Peter Driscoll Pangolin You're taking on an organization with reserves you know nothing about. How do you know you won't be catching a tiger by the tail?
See also: have, tail, tiger

ride a tiger

take on a responsibility or embark on a course of action which subsequently cannot safely be abandoned.
The expression comes from the Chinese proverb ‘He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount’.
1940 Daily Progress (USA) I believe that Hitler is riding a tiger in trying to keep all Europe under control by sheer force.
See also: ride, tiger

a tiger in your tank

energy, spirit, or animation.
This expression originated as a 1960s advertising slogan for Esso petrol: ‘Put a tiger in your tank’.
See also: tank, tiger

a ˌpaper ˈtiger

a person or thing that is less strong, powerful, dangerous, etc. than they/it appears: He claimed that the enemies of his party were paper tigers and not to be feared.This is a translation of a Chinese expression that became well known when it was used by Mao Zedong.
See also: paper, tiger

have a tiger by the tail

tv. to have become associated with something powerful and potentially dangerous. (Have got can replace have.) You have a tiger by the tail. You bit off more than you could chew.
See also: have, tail, tiger

tiger

n. a strong and virile man. The guy’s a tiger. Watch out for him.

tiger sweat

and tiger juice and tiger(‘s) milk
n. bad liquor; strong liquor; any beer or liquor. (Older.) This tiger milk would kill a tiger of any age or disposition. Give me some of that tiger juice, will ya?
See also: sweat, tiger

tiger juice

verb
See also: juice, tiger

tiger‘s milk

verb
See also: milk

tiger milk

verb
See also: milk, tiger

the lady or the tiger

A problem with no solution. Frank R. Stockton's short story titled “The Lady, or the tiger” is set in an ancient country whose king held an trial by ordeal. Behind one door was a beautiful woman; behind a second door was a ferocious tiger. Those on trial were forced to open one or the other door without knowing what was on the other side. To choose the one behind which was the woman meant the defendant was innocent, and he was obliged to marry the woman. However, to select the door behind which was the tiger was a sign of guilt, and the defendant would be eaten alive. The king did not approve of his daughter's choice of suitor, who was forced to take the test. The princess knew what was behind both doors, and when her suitor looked to her for a hint, she was faced with a predicament: to indicate the maiden door would mean that her beloved would marry another; to point to the tiger door meant he would be killed. What did the princess do? We'll never know, because Stockton ended the story just as the young man was about to open a door. All we were left with was a terrific phrase to describe any dilemma for which there is no satisfactory solution.
See also: lady, tiger

paper tiger

Something that appears dangerous but is not. The phrase comes from a Chinese expression that means what it does in English—something or someone that is all bark but no bite. The phrase is often used in international diplomacy to describe a nation that makes threats but is unlikely to back them up with action.
See also: paper, tiger

ride a tiger

To find yourself in a precarious situation. The phrase comes from “He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.” Which is to say, once you find yourself in a dangerous circumstance, getting out of it can be even more potentially hazardous, whether to your health or your career.
See also: ride, tiger
References in classic literature ?
If a hog, go join your fellow-swine in the sty; if a lion, a wolf, a tiger, go howl with the wild beasts on the lawn; if a fox, go exercise your craft in stealing poultry.
And the First of the Tigers ran to and fro, calling aloud to the deer and the pig and the sambhur and the porcupine and all the Jungle Peoples, and they all ran away from him who had been their judge, because they were afraid.
Then the First of the Tigers came back, and his pride was broken in him, and, beating his head upon the ground, he tore up the earth with all his feet and said: 'Remember that I was once the Master of the Jungle.
He was always a man of iron nerve, and the story is still told in India how he crawled down a drain after a wounded man-eating tiger.
The Tiger seemed to smile, and winked one eye slowly.
He's a vegetarian," remarked the Tiger, as the horse began to munch the clover.
Now I've got him afraid of me, and the rest ought to be easy," he announced, resting off and panting hard from his exertions, while the great tiger crouched and quivered and shrank back from him against the base of the arena-bars.
Since he could not compel the tiger directly to sit in the chair, he must employ other means.
Straight as a torpedo it rushed for Delcarte, and, as Taylor and I stumbled on through the tall grass toward our unfortunate comrade, we saw the tiger rear upon him and crush him to the earth.
He came from under the tiger with a broad grin on his handsome face, nor could I perceive that a muscle trembled or that his voice showed the least indication of nervousness or excitement.
It was the noise that bewilders woodcutters and gypsies sleeping in the open, and makes them run sometimes into the very mouth of the tiger.
But Father Wolf knew that the mouth of the cave was too narrow for a tiger to come in by.
All its efforts to rid itself of the tiger seemed futile, until in desperation it threw itself upon the ground, rolling over and over.
Yes; it rules me like a tyrant," answered the Tiger, sorrowfully.
My good old friend did not relish meeting a man at dinner who was described as "half tiger, half monkey;" and the privilege of sitting next to Lady Clarinda rather daunted than delighted him.