bell the cat


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bell the cat

To undertake or agree to perform a risky, dangerous, or impossible job or task. It comes from a fable (often and likely incorrectly attributed to Aesop) called "Belling the Cat," in which a group of mice decide that one will harness a bell to a murderous cat so that its jingle will warn them of its presence, though none want to take on the dangerous role. Someone has to bell the cat and tell the boss we aren't going to come in to work on Saturdays anymore. Who's going to bell the cat and tell mom we wrecked her car?
See also: bell, cat

bell the cat

take the danger of a shared enterprise upon yourself.
Bell the cat alludes to the fable in which mice or rats have the idea of hanging a bell around the cat's neck so as to have warning of its approach, the only difficulty being to find one of their number willing to undertake the task.
See also: bell, cat

bell the cat

To perform a daring act.
See also: bell, cat

bell the cat

To put yourself in a dangerous position. The phrase comes from one of Aesop's fables: The Mice held a general council to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. After a general discussion, a young Mouse rose to present a proposal. “You will all agree,” he said, “that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape. I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round the Cat's neck. By this means we should always know when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the neighborhood.” This proposal met with general applause, until an old Mouse rose to ask, “That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?” The Mice looked at one another, but none spoke, whereupon the old Mouse smiled and commented, “It is easy to propose impossible remedies."
See also: bell, cat
References in periodicals archive ?
No one to bell the cat, breathe life into the basic law
The entire issue is about who will bell the cat? This ban was imposed on many occasions in the past, with zero results.
Which leader has the requisite capability, competence, character, composure, clarity and political will to bell the cat and restructure Nigeria in a way that it will operate as a true Federalism?
Let's bell the cat,' he urged the people of Sindh while offering his party as a replacement to other political parties in the general elections.
Why tell us the bell the cat? The court started the case; we're going by its instructions," said a senior official, requesting anonymity.
Someone Gandhian like Anna Hazare would have bell the cat or else the corporate loot would go on.
He also admitted that no one in Umno nor BN were willing to 'bell the cat' after seeing their then second-in-command Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin dropped from Cabinet for questioning Najib over the source of 1MDB's funds and where the RM2.6 billion had gone.
We welcome the suggestion of the NP chief for dialogue among institutions but the question arises who will bell the cat. The confrontation and mistrust among institutions is assuming dangerous dimensions and apparently there is no one who could spearhead such a dialogue, which has become a must for stability of the country.
Let me garner the courage to bell the cat with this one- why, on God's green earth, would governors of Nigeria's 36 states approve the withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to fight an already defeated Boko Haram in a meeting chaired by the Vice President?
If the proverbial mice decide to bell the cat, success will depend upon the cat's consent to wear a bell.
Who will bell the cat? Someone like Peter had to do it.
But who will bell the cat when the concerned quarters have taken mums and turned deaf ear and have let common man at the mercy of Allah Almighty .
A few minutes into the informal meeting at the gathering, attended by 17 state unit members, it was clear that everyone wanted Srinivasan to resign but none was ready to bell the cat.