enough rope, to give (someone)

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enough rope, to give (someone)

To allow someone to continue behaving badly until he or she reaps the consequences. The rope in question alludes to enough rope to hang oneself, which is how the phrase is often completed. It was well enough known by the mid-seventeenth century to appear in four slightly different forms in John Ray’s English Proverbs (1678), the most common being “Give him rope enough and he’ll hang himself.”
See also: enough, give