sow dragon's teeth(redirected from sown dragon's teeth)
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sow dragon's teeth
To do something that inadvertently leads to trouble. The phrase refers to Cadmus, a figure in Greek mythology who killed a dragon and, on instructions from Athena, sowed (planted) its teeth. The soldiers that grew from the teeth fought each other until only a few remained. A: "Why did you invite Joe, my sworn enemy, to this party?" B: "Listen, if I had known that I would be sowing dragon's teeth by inviting Joe, I never would have done it!" I guess I sowed dragon's teeth when I complained about my neighbors being too loud because now they won't talk to me.
sow (or plant) dragon's teethtake action that is intended to prevent trouble, but which actually brings it about.
In Greek legend, Cadmus killed a dragon and sowed its teeth, which sprang up as armed men; these men then killed one another, leaving just five survivors who became the ancestors of the Thebans.