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tiger team

business jargon A team of highly skilled professionals who are assembled to investigate, test, or try to exploit the potential weaknesses of a company's or organization's security system. The tech giant has begun recruiting coders and hackers fresh out of college into tiger teams to stress test vulnerabilities in their new operating system.
See also: team, tiger

paper tiger

A nation or organization that gives the impression that it is threatening or powerful when, in reality, is not. Many people see North Korea as nothing more than a paper tiger, despite its threats against other countries. The new management team tries to command respect through lots of blustery speeches, but all of us workers just see it as a paper tiger.
See also: paper, tiger

have a tiger by the tail

 and have got a tiger by the tail; have a bear by the tail
Fig. to have become associated with something powerful and potentially dangerous; to have a very difficult problem to solve. You have a tiger by the tail. You bit off more than you could chew. You've had a bear by the tail ever since you agreed to finish that big project.
See also: have, tail, tiger

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.

Prov. Sometimes it is more dangerous to stop doing a dangerous thing than it is to continue doing it. Jill: You shouldn't take out another loan. You're already too far in debt. Jane: If I don't take out a loan, I can't make the payments on the loans I already have. You know how it is—she who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
See also: afraid, dismount, he, ride, tiger, who

leopard cannot change its spots, a

Also, the tiger cannot change its stripes. One can't change one's essential nature. For example, He's a conservative, no matter what he says; the leopard cannot change its spots. These metaphoric expressions both originated in an ancient Greek proverb that appears in the Bible (Jeremiah 13:23): "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" It was first recorded in English in 1546.
See also: cannot, change, leopard

tiger by the tail

Something too difficult to manage or cope with, as in You know nothing about the commodities market; you'll end up catching a tiger by the tail . This colorful metaphor conjures up the image of grabbing a powerful but fierce animal by the tail, only to have it turn on one. [Second half of 1900s]
See also: tail, tiger

a paper tiger

If you describe a person, country, or organization as a paper tiger, you mean that although they seem to be powerful, they do not really have any power. Unless the assembly has the power to fire the mayor, it will prove to be nothing but a paper tiger. She had shown the country to be a paper tiger, incapable of defending its territories. Note: This is an old Chinese expression which Chairman Mao applied to the United States in the 1950s.
See also: paper, tiger

a paper tiger

an apparently dangerous but actually ineffectual person or thing.
This expression became well known in the West from its use by Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communist leader. In an interview in 1946 , he expressed the view that ‘all reactionaries are paper tigers’.
1998 Oldie We fear that the Rail Regulator and the Consultative Committee are paper tigers and a waste of time.
See also: paper, tiger

have (or catch) a tiger by the tail

= ride a tiger.
A similar difficulty confronts those who have a wolf by the ears (see wolf).
1979 Peter Driscoll Pangolin You're taking on an organization with reserves you know nothing about. How do you know you won't be catching a tiger by the tail?
See also: have, tail, tiger

ride a tiger

take on a responsibility or embark on a course of action which subsequently cannot safely be abandoned.
The expression comes from the Chinese proverb ‘He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount’.
1940 Daily Progress (USA) I believe that Hitler is riding a tiger in trying to keep all Europe under control by sheer force.
See also: ride, tiger

a tiger in your tank

energy, spirit, or animation.
This expression originated as a 1960s advertising slogan for Esso petrol: ‘Put a tiger in your tank’.
See also: tank, tiger

a ˌpaper ˈtiger

a person or thing that is less strong, powerful, dangerous, etc. than they/it appears: He claimed that the enemies of his party were paper tigers and not to be feared.This is a translation of a Chinese expression that became well known when it was used by Mao Zedong.
See also: paper, tiger

have a tiger by the tail

tv. to have become associated with something powerful and potentially dangerous. (Have got can replace have.) You have a tiger by the tail. You bit off more than you could chew.
See also: have, tail, tiger


n. a strong and virile man. The guy’s a tiger. Watch out for him.

tiger sweat

and tiger juice and tiger(‘s) milk
n. bad liquor; strong liquor; any beer or liquor. (Older.) This tiger milk would kill a tiger of any age or disposition. Give me some of that tiger juice, will ya?
See also: sweat, tiger

tiger juice

See also: juice, tiger

tiger‘s milk

See also: milk

tiger milk

See also: milk, tiger

the lady or the tiger

A problem with no solution. Frank R. Stockton's short story titled “The Lady, or the tiger” is set in an ancient country whose king held an trial by ordeal. Behind one door was a beautiful woman; behind a second door was a ferocious tiger. Those on trial were forced to open one or the other door without knowing what was on the other side. To choose the one behind which was the woman meant the defendant was innocent, and he was obliged to marry the woman. However, to select the door behind which was the tiger was a sign of guilt, and the defendant would be eaten alive. The king did not approve of his daughter's choice of suitor, who was forced to take the test. The princess knew what was behind both doors, and when her suitor looked to her for a hint, she was faced with a predicament: to indicate the maiden door would mean that her beloved would marry another; to point to the tiger door meant he would be killed. What did the princess do? We'll never know, because Stockton ended the story just as the young man was about to open a door. All we were left with was a terrific phrase to describe any dilemma for which there is no satisfactory solution.
See also: lady, tiger

paper tiger

Something that appears dangerous but is not. The phrase comes from a Chinese expression that means what it does in English—something or someone that is all bark but no bite. The phrase is often used in international diplomacy to describe a nation that makes threats but is unlikely to back them up with action.
See also: paper, tiger

ride a tiger

To find yourself in a precarious situation. The phrase comes from “He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.” Which is to say, once you find yourself in a dangerous circumstance, getting out of it can be even more potentially hazardous, whether to your health or your career.
See also: ride, tiger
References in classic literature ?
Below him a little were the vanguard of the deer; below these, again, the pig and the wild buffalo; and on the opposite bank, where the tall trees came down to the water's edge, was the place set apart for the Eaters of Flesh--the tiger, the wolves, the panther, the bear, and the others.
This was Shere Khan, the Lame Tiger, limping down to the water.
The Lame Tiger had dipped his chin and jowl in the water, and dark, oily streaks were floating from it down-stream.
None but the Lame Tiger would so have boasted of his right at this season when--when we suffer together--Man and Jungle People alike.
No way the Cardinals have even the faintest chance of upsetting the Tigers, and even those unfeeling gambling outfits are echoing such sentiments.
Some of these precious tigers have found a safe haven in a special shelter created by Buddhist monks.
Most people would agree that keeping tigers for show at the Hotel Mirage in Las Vegas was a bad idea from the start.
But for the moment, she is still a child and her father sends her a special gift--a tiger cub.
The site of the HPAI outbreak is the biggest tiger zoo in Thailand, housing 441 tigers in 3 zones: breeder, nursery, and grower.
Orix Blue Wave and the Kintetsu Buffaloes have their fans--baseball nuts one and all--but the Tigers are different.
In her latest book, 20 Ways to Track a Tiger, Amore' cameras are focused on Asia's Bengals, but her love for these endangered beauties carries over to their cold-weather cousins, Siberian tigers.
Behind the scenes, a 4,000-SF animal holding building is used for housing and feeding the tigers when not out in the exhibit.
Although a recent New York Times piece claimed that wild tigers have made a "remarkable recovery" a quick look at the real numbers gives a more accurate picture of the challenge this magnificent species faces at the brink of extinction.
EIA chief investigator Dave Currey said: " This must be stamped out if tigers are to survive.