give (one) an inch and (one) will take a mile(redirected from give an inch and will take a mile)
give (one) an inch and (one) will take a mile
If one makes concessions for someone, that will embolden that person to take further advantage of one, instead of being content with what they have been given. If you let the kids stay up later on the weekends, they'll want to do it all the time. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.
give an inch and they'll take a mile
Make a small concession and they'll take advantage of you. For example, I told her she could borrow the car for one day and she's been gone a week-give an inch! This expression, in slightly different form, was already a proverb in John Heywood's 1546 collection, "Give him an inch and he'll take an ell," and is so well known it is often shortened (as in the example). The use of mile dates from about 1900.
give someone an inch and they'll take a mile
If you say give someone an inch and they'll take a mile, you mean that if you do a small favour for someone, they will become greedy and ask you to do bigger and bigger favours for them and make you regret doing the first favour. Be tough and uncompromising — if you give colleagues an inch, they will take a mile. Note: Sometimes people just say give them an inch, or use another word instead of `mile'. You know what kids are like. Give them an inch. The problem with him was that if you gave him an inch he'd take six.
give someone an inchonce concessions have been made to someone they will demand a great deal.
The full form of the saying is the proverb give someone an inch and he will take a mile . In former times, ell (an obsolete measure of length equal to a little over a metre) was sometimes substitued for mile .