Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
to take a foolish risk because you are depending too much on luck She didn't want to tempt fate by turning down the job and hoping something better would be offered.
1. to do something which involves a risk and may cause something unpleasant to happen I always feel it's tempting fate to leave the house without an umbrella.
2. to cause bad luck for yourself by talking too confidently about a situation It's probably tempting fate to say so, but I haven't had a cold all year.
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.