a camel's nose (under the 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. If you let your employees work from home occasionally, it could well become a camel's nose under the tent. Like, good luck getting them to work a whole week in the office again!
See also: nose
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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