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big tent

1. noun A group, movement, or philosophy that appeals or caters to, or encompasses, the broadest and most diverse amount of members possible. We pride our church on being something of a big tent, welcoming any and all who wish to join us. The party is trying to establish itself as a big tent, broadening its aims to appeal to the widest amount of voters possible.
2. adjective (often hyphenated) Appealing or catering to, or encompassing, the broadest and most diverse amount of members possible. In my opinion, their big-tent politics, while reaching more people, dilute the potency of their goals.
See also: big, tent

a camel's nose (under the tent)

A small, seemingly innocuous act or decision that will lead to much larger, more serious, and less desirable consequences down the line. The term refers to an alleged Arab proverb that if a camel is allowed to get its nose inside of a tent, it will be impossible to prevent the rest of it from entering. Some regard legalizing same-sex marriage as a camel's nose under the tent, eventually leading to the destruction of marriage altogether. Not hiring an exterminator at the first sign of termites has proved to be a camel's nose, as much of our woodwork is now destroyed.
See also: nose

fold (up) (one's) tent

To quit, withdraw, or disengage (from something), especially quietly or discreetly. After allegations of embezzlement, the CEO decided to fold his tent and take an early retirement. You're going to have a lot of setbacks in life, so don't just fold up your tent and go home at the first sign of failure.
See also: fold, tent

Were you born in a tent?

Have you no basic manners? (Usually said after someone has left open a door to the outside.) Shut the door, it's freezing outside! Were you born in a tent?
See also: born

pitch a tent

to erect a tent at a campsite. The campers pitched their tent in a clearing in the woods. I pitched my tent next to a large oak tree.
See also: pitch, tent

fold one's tent

Quietly depart, as in It's late, so let's fold our tents. This term is a partial quotation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Day is Done" (1844): "And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And quietly steal away."
See also: fold, tent

tent out

1. To sleep outdoors in a tent: We tented out in Acadia National Park.
2. To be extended outwards by a prop so as to create a cavity underneath. Used of a layer or sheet of material: The wallpaper is tenting out because of a loose nail.
3. To push out some layer or sheet of material so as to create a cavity underneath: A loose spring in the cushion is tenting the fabric out. We used ski poles to tent out the sides of the tarp.
See also: out, tent

make a mountain

and pitch a tent
n. to have a morning erection that raises the covers; to have an erection that makes a bulge in one’s clothing; to get an erection. Bobby makes a mountain almost every morning. When I was in the hospital, I was afraid I would pitch a tent in the morning.
See also: make, mountain

pitch a tent

See also: pitch, tent
References in classic literature ?
Presently she heard the crowd moving up the street toward The Sheik's tent.
However, you may look and see," added the lackey, raising the curtained entrance of the tent.
I want no fetching; I had far rather fight than stay in my tent.
Spithead, having entered the general's tent without being sent for, had drawn this question from Monk.
I talked to me ould non-coms - they was sober - an' betune me an' thim we wore the draf' over into their tents at the proper time.
Come to the fat priest's tent with this thin man and see the end.
Strengthened by a four-finger "nip" which he swallowed without a wink, the Hospital Orderly kept up with the slipping, mud-stained, and very disgusted pony as it shambled to the hospital tent.
And you follow each other round and round, swearing at one another, until the tent tumbles down in a heap, and leaves you looking at each other across its ruins, when you both indignantly exclaim, in the same breath:
Fabvier, not entering the tent, remained at the entrance talking to some generals of his acquaintance.
Every one ran to look inside the tent, and they saw two pretty white beds, all ready for Dorothy and Aunt Em, and a silver roost for Billina.
The tent of the Sorceress was larger than the others, and was composed of pure white silk, with scarlet banners flying above it.
He was standing before a goat-skin tent amidst a clump of date palms within a tiny oasis.
As he opened his eyes he saw the faces of strange black men about him, and just outside the tent the figure of an Arab.
He grasped her roughly by the arm and started to drag her toward his tent.
Shortly after this he was taken to a goat-skin tent upon the upper side of the DOUAR.