false move

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a/one false move

An action that threatens to worsen an already precarious situation. We didn't call the police because the robber said he'd hurt anyone who made a false move. If we make one false move now, we're liable to lose the house we're bidding on.
See also: false, move, one
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

false move

 and one false move
Fig. [even] a single movement that indicates that one is disobeying an order to remain still or in a nonthreatening posture. The robber threatened to shoot us if we made one false move.
See also: false, move
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

(make) a/one false ˈmove

(informal) in an already dangerous or risky situation, something which makes your position even more dangerous: She’s in a difficult financial situation, and if she makes a false move now she could lose everything.‘One false move and you’re dead,’ he shouted at the bank clerk.
See also: false, move, one
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
I learned that one false move in work can be detrimental to your career, and colleagues may never let you forget your mistakes.
I've heard it said that if we all put our worries into one big pile, it wouldn't be long before you were looking to retrieve your own, instead of anyone else's - and with this in mind, one of the Paton's current worries is that one false move and the pumpkin skin can split making it ineligible for the weigh-in.
Paxton previously co-starred with Hanks in Apollo 13 and also starred and co-starred in many unforgettable films such as One False Move, Titanic, Twister and Aliens.
Opening the batting in Test cricket requires a certain skill and temperament, where one false move can signal the end from the very first ball you face.
Opening the batting in Test cricket requires a certain skill and temperament, when one false move could signal the end from the very first ball you face.
The Jerusalem-based news agency reported that the truck carrying the Zolfaqar missiles held a banner which read "If the leaders of the Zionist regime make one false move, the Islamic republic will destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa" referring to two major Israeli cities.
One false move could turn a risky situation into a death trap.
Incredibly there was not a single false move, or even a close call -- each artist was utterly thrilling to watch as they flung themselves into the levitating arms of their counter halves.
"Student debt stress can make borrowers feel like they are walking a tightrope where any false move in paying back a loan can cause them to fall," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said.
She's next in line to die if she makes one false move, only she doesn't know it.
Clarke challenged his men to keep the momentum from the first Test triumph bubbling, warning one false move would let England back in the series, the report said.
Citing another false move by the party leadership, some Congress leaders said the party and the government erred in forcing the defence minister to make a statement in the House on LoC killings on August 6 soon after the Opposition created a ruckus.
While ambitious, Butland is wary of making a false move by trying to achieve too much too soon, and despite having now tasted life with the England seniors, he is very much focused on the Young Lions' Euros campaign in Israel in June.
Knowing that one false move at 40mph while balanced on a tyre less than an inch thick could end her career, Pendleton nevertheless pursues gold medals and world titles with the courage of a lioness.
"It is a false move for the Philippine side to incite the anti-China protest, which will escalate and complicate the current situation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a press briefing in Beijing.