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beard the lion

To confront risk or danger head on, especially for the sake of possible personal gain. Refers to a proverb based on a Bible story from I Samuel, in which a shepherd, David, hunts down a lion that stole a lamb, grasps it by the beard, and kills it. Risks very often don't turn out well, but if you don't face them and beard the lion, you will never achieve the success you truly desire.
See also: beard, lion

the lion's den

A particularly dangerous, hostile, or oppressive place or situation, especially due to an angry or sinister person or group of people within it. I felt like I was walking into the lion's den when I went in front of the board for my annual review.
See also: den

beard the lion in his den

 and beard someone in his den
Prov. to confront someone on his or her own territory. I spent a week trying to reach Mr. Toynbee by phone, but his secretary always told me he was too busy to talk to me. Today I walked straight into his office and bearded the lion in his den. If the landlord doesn't contact us soon, we'll have to beard him in his den.
See also: beard, den, lion

den of iniquity

a place filled with criminal activity or wickedness. The town was a den of iniquity and vice was everywhere. Police raided the gambling house, calling it a den of iniquity.
See also: den, of

beard somebody in their den

  also beard the lion in their den
to visit an important person in the place where they work, in order to tell or ask them something unpleasant A group of journalists bearded the director in his den to ask how he was going to deal with the crisis. Who's going to beard the lion in her den and explain what's gone wrong?
See also: beard, den

the lions' den

an unpleasant situation in which a person or group of people criticizes you or your ideas It's your turn for the lions' den. Gordon wants to see you in his office now.
See also: den

beard the lion

Confront a danger, take a risk, as in I went straight to my boss, bearding the lion. This term was originally a Latin proverb based on a Bible story (I Samuel 17:35) about the shepherd David, who pursued a lion that had stolen a lamb, caught it by its beard, and killed it. By Shakespeare's time it was being used figuratively, as it is today. Sometimes the term is amplified to beard the lion in his den, which may combine the allusion with another Bible story, that of Daniel being shut in a lions' den for the night (Daniel 6:16-24).
See also: beard, lion
References in classic literature ?
Dey'll sell dese niggers today fo' stealin' de money, den dey'll buy some mo' dat don't now de chillen--so dat's all right.
And she went into the den next door, where another mother-lion lived, and told her all about it.
Den I finish my cases quick, und I say: 'Let us go to your house und get a trink.
Den Bertran laugh and say, 'Fi dond' shust as if it was a glass broken upon der table; und Bimi come nearer, und Bertran was honey-sweet in his voice and laughed to himself.
Und den Bertran kill him with his hands, und I go for a walk upon der heach.
In a very short time a decrepit figure had emerged from the opium den, and I was walking down the street with Sherlock Holmes.
Had I been recognised in that den my life would not have been worth an hour's purchase; for I have used it before now for my own purposes, and the rascally Lascar who runs it has sworn to have vengeance upon me.
Inside the den they saw the strange white ape lying half across a table, his head buried in his arms; and on the bed lay a figure covered by a sailcloth, while from a tiny rustic cradle came the plaintive wailing of a babe.
Then, kissing each lass sweetly, he wished them all good den, and left them.
I give you good den, sweet friends," quoth Little John, striding up to where they sat.
Staggering to his feet, the ape-man groped about the reeking, oozy den.
And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?
And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous?
Therefore do I tear at your web, that your rage may lure you out of your den of lies, and that your revenge may leap forth from behind your word "justice.
That they speak in favour of life, though they sit in their den, these poison-spiders, and withdrawn from life--is because they would thereby do injury.