when the cat's away, the mice will play


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When the cat's away, the mice will play.

Prov. When no one in authority is present, the subordinates can do as they please. When the teacher left for a few minutes, the children nearly wrecked the classroom. When the cat's away, the mice will play. Jill: You shouldn't be reading a novel at your desk. Jane: But the boss isn't here. And when the cat's away, the mice will play.
See also: mice, play, will

when the cat's away, the mice will play

Without supervision, people will do as they please, especially in disregarding or breaking rules. For example, As soon as their parents left, the children invited all their friends over-when the cat's away, you know . This expression has been a proverb since about 1600 and is so well known it is often shortened, as in the example.
See also: mice, play, will