give (one) an inch and (one) will take a mile

give (one) an inch and (one) will take a mile

If one makes concessions for someone, that will embolden that person to take further advantage of one, instead of being content with what they have been given. If you let the kids stay up later on the weekends, they'll want to do it all the time. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.
See also: and, give, inch, mile, take, will

give an inch and they'll take a mile

Make a small concession and they'll take advantage of you. For example, I told her she could borrow the car for one day and she's been gone a week-give an inch! This expression, in slightly different form, was already a proverb in John Heywood's 1546 collection, "Give him an inch and he'll take an ell," and is so well known it is often shortened (as in the example). The use of mile dates from about 1900.
See also: and, give, inch, mile, take

give someone an inch and they'll take a mile

If you say give someone an inch and they'll take a mile, you mean that if you do a small favour for someone, they will become greedy and ask you to do bigger and bigger favours for them and make you regret doing the first favour. Be tough and uncompromising — if you give colleagues an inch, they will take a mile. Note: Sometimes people just say give them an inch, or use another word instead of `mile'. You know what kids are like. Give them an inch. The problem with him was that if you gave him an inch he'd take six.
See also: and, give, inch, mile, someone, take

give someone an inch

once concessions have been made to someone they will demand a great deal.
The full form of the saying is the proverb give someone an inch and he will take a mile . In former times, ell (an obsolete measure of length equal to a little over a metre) was sometimes substitued for mile .
See also: give, inch, someone

give somebody an ˈinch (and they’ll ˌtake a ˈyard/ˈmile)

(saying) if you say yes to somebody for a small request, they will want much more: I said Joe could borrow my car occasionally, and then he started to borrow it every night! Give him an inch...!
See also: give, inch, somebody