a/one 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

move (from some place) (to some place)

to travel from one place to another. The whole family moved from Denver to Chicago. We moved to the country.
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 ?
'Chopper' Harris was editor of the Racing Post when he made one his rare false moves in hiring me straight out of university as a trainee sub-editor in September 1989.
There's a diligent, low-key craftsmanship at work throughout that seldom makes false moves, but doesn't take any major risks, either.
The Government had come into talks late in the day and this had led to 'false moves', said Professor Garel Rhys (right) of the Cardiff University Business School.
The Rule-Following Considerations and Metaethics: Some False Moves, GERALD LANG
Even this early in the job, the German coach has not made too many false moves.
Punctuated by well-timed drives and cuts, Wilson's innings contained few false moves. Indeed, the most obvious one was of mathematics, rather than mis-hits.