bell the cat


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bell the cat

To undertake or agree to perform a risky, dangerous, or impossible job or task. It comes from a fable (often and likely incorrectly attributed to Aesop) called "Belling the Cat," in which a group of mice decide that one will harness a bell to a murderous cat so that its jingle will warn them of its presence, though none want to take on the dangerous role. Someone has to bell the cat and tell the boss we aren't going to come in to work on Saturdays anymore. Who's going to bell the cat and tell mom we wrecked her car?
See also: bell, cat

bell the cat

To perform a daring act.
See also: bell, cat

bell the cat

To put yourself in a dangerous position. The phrase comes from one of Aesop's fables: The Mice held a general council to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. After a general discussion, a young Mouse rose to present a proposal. “You will all agree,” he said, “that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape. I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round the Cat's neck. By this means we should always know when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the neighborhood.” This proposal met with general applause, until an old Mouse rose to ask, “That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?” The Mice looked at one another, but none spoke, whereupon the old Mouse smiled and commented, “It is easy to propose impossible remedies."
See also: bell, cat
References in periodicals archive ?
And that may not be a tall order for the new power puff girls aiming to bell the CAT.
In that event, Mr Chidambaram must alter his pace and ensure that he has the appropriate instrumentality in hand, before he sets out to bell the cat.