the thin end of the wedge

the thin end of the wedge

The inconspicuous beginning or initial stage of something that will be unfavorable, cause problems, or bring decline. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. This law is the thin edge of the wedge. If it's passed, you can expect more extreme legislation to follow.
See also: end, of, thin, wedge

the thin end of the wedge

BRITISH
The thin end of the wedge is the beginning of something bad which seems harmless or unimportant at present but is likely to become much worse in the future. I think it's the thin end of the wedge when you have armed police permanently on patrol round a city. This decision could prove to be the thin end of the wedge towards making the 1.68 inch ball the legal ball the world over.
See also: end, of, thin, wedge

the thin end of the wedge

an action or procedure of little importance in itself, but which is likely to lead to more serious developments. informal
See also: end, of, thin, wedge

the thin ˌend of the ˈwedge

(especially British English) used for saying that you fear that one small request, order, action, etc. is only the beginning of something larger and more serious or harmful: The government says it only wants to privatize one or two railway lines, but I think it’s the thin end of the wedge. They’ll all be privatized soon.
A wedge is a piece of wood, metal, etc. with one thick end and one thin pointed end that you use to keep two things apart or to split wood or rock.
See also: end, of, thin, wedge
References in periodicals archive ?
Shotts have been on the thin end of the wedge for years.
And Black Country Labour MP John Spellar (Lab) said: "This must not be the thin end of the wedge.
What we are seeing here is the thin end of the wedge.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: I do understand that train staff worry that the change to roles could be the thin end of the wedge.
As far as I can see this will be the thin end of the wedge, as if these houses are built and people move in, the next thing will be house owners cannot stand the planes coming and going, leading to cutting flights further hence making the airport a none viable thing to run, leading to its closure.
Taxing question THE Tories' desire to reintroduce prescription charges and tuition fees is the thin end of the wedge when it comes to charging people to use basic public services.
However, would it be the thin end of the wedge, paving the way for the abolition of traffic from the city centre permanently?
This Bill is the thin end of the wedge, allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal drug to dying patients who request it.
If the promised law appears to be limited in scope at the outset we can be sure this would be the thin end of the wedge, with all workers eventually brought within its remit.
They have voiced worries that the PS10 cover charge to dine there is the thin end of the wedge - and that Olsen will follow other cruise lines by adding extra costs.
Pull me away from the edge, At the thin end of the wedge, Sitting on a shelf, out on a ledge, Stuck on the fence taking the pledge.
We must avoid doing anything that might be the thin end of the wedge.
It was the thin end of the wedge and now we find ourselves in a crisis so deep that only a Conservative government with fiscal responsibility can handle.
However, delegates clearly felt any suspension was the thin end of the wedge and an attempt by the Tory-led coalition to deregulate Sunday trading by the back door.
We think it's the thin end of the wedge for FIFA to take away the four home nations' power base.