tempt fate

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tempt fate

1. To do something that one knows is dangerous or likely to have a negative outcome. You're really tempting fate by not taking your car in for service when all these dashboard lights are on.
2. To invite bad luck or unpleasant situations by showing one's confidence in something. I'm afraid to tempt fate, but I really think I did well on the exam.
See also: fate, tempt

tempt fate

Also, tempt the fates. Take a severe risk, as in It's tempting fate to start up that mountain so late in the day, or Patrice thought driving that old car was tempting the fates; it was sure to break down . This expression uses tempt in the sense of "test in a way that involves risk or danger." Earlier idioms with a similar meaning were tempt God, dating from the 1300s, and tempt fortune, first recorded in 1603, with fate appearing about 1700.
See also: fate, tempt

tempt fate

COMMON
1. If someone tempts fate, they take unnecessary risks or do something that may bring them bad luck. They charged the organisers with tempting fate by sending so many ill-prepared crews into such dangerous waters. Note: You can also say that someone tempts providence. I used to take the most appalling risks because it was in my nature to push everything to the extreme. I was tempting providence all the time.
2. If you tempt fate, you talk too confidently about something which may go wrong. While I wouldn't want to tempt fate, almost every time this team has been put under pressure, they've triumphed. Note: You can also say that someone tempts providence. I'm 36 and I'd hate to tempt providence and say I'm going to get pregnant.
See also: fate, tempt

tempt fate (or providence)

act rashly. informal
See also: fate, tempt

tempt ˈfate/ˈprovidence

take a risk or do something dangerous: ‘I don’t think I’ll insure my boat.’ ‘Don’t tempt fate. It’s best to insure it.’
See also: fate, tempt
References in classic literature ?
While Ernest had been growing up and growing old, a bountiful Providence had granted a new poet to this earth.
Their own view may be bounded by country, creed, profession, the diversities of individual character--but above them all is the breadth of Providence.
Here are members of the learned professions, whom Providence endowed with special gifts for the plough, the forge, and the wheelbarrow, or for the routine of unintellectual business.
Providence has willed that you should be persecuted; this persecution to-day consecrates you king of France.
I was going to say, that the designs of Providence do not stop on such a fair road.
It still offers me more than my enemies suppose," said the Emperor growing more and more animated; "but should it ever be ordained by Divine Providence," he continued, raising to heaven his fine eyes shining with emotion, "that my dynasty should cease to reign on the throne of my ancestors, then after exhausting all the means at my command, I shall let my beard grow to here" (he pointed halfway down his chest) "and go and eat potatoes with the meanest of my peasants, rather than sign the disgrace of my country and of my beloved people whose sacrifices I know how to appreciate.
She says, says she, `Well, Providence sends seasons of humiliation to a country, same as to individuals.
mebbe Providence thinks Canada needs a real long spell of humiliation.
If Providence has created the stars and the planets, man has called the cannon-ball into existence.
Not only is it making a fool of the boy, but it is despising the gifts of Providence, and teaching him to trample them under his feet.
Let me beseech you, sir, if you have any compassion either for me or yourself, do not despise the goodness of Providence, but let us go directly to yon light.
This providence is over my fate, that I have to be without foresight.
Why, in a city of all-night restaurants, these parties ever break up one cannot say, but a merciful Providence sees to it that they do, and just as Lord Dawlish was contemplating an eternity of the company of Nutty and his two companions, the end came.
I had hitherto acted upon no religious foundation at all; indeed, I had very few notions of religion in my head, nor had entertained any sense of anything that had befallen me otherwise than as chance, or, as we lightly say, what pleases God, without so much as inquiring into the end of Providence in these things, or His order in governing events for the world.
As a so eminently respectable man, Mr Podsnap was sensible of its being required of him to take Providence under his protection.
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