lead (one) (on) a merry dance

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lead (one) (on) a merry dance

To waste one's time or cause someone a great deal of confusion through deceitful, manipulative, or inexplicable behavior. You should have just said you weren't interested in investing from the beginning, rather than leading us on a merry dance for three weeks! If someone in whom you are uninterested is pursuing you romantically, do not lead them a merry dance—make your feelings clear from the get go.
See also: dance, lead, merry
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lead someone a merry dance

If someone leads you a merry dance while you are trying to achieve something, they cause a lot of problems for you, often by doing something to trick you. They had led the Irish Government a merry dance for the last seven months. Note: You can also say that someone leads you a dance or leads you a merry chase. I began to court the lady who last year became my second wife. She led me quite a dance, but I never gave up. He was fast becoming a kind of cult figure, always leading the police a merry chase.
See also: dance, lead, merry, someone
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

lead someone a (merry) dance

cause someone a great deal of trouble or worry. British
1993 Isidore Okpewho Tides I will be content to lead my friends at the NSS a merry dance if only to get even with them for messing me up the way they did.
See also: dance, lead, someone
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

lead somebody a (merry) ˈdance

cause somebody a lot of trouble or worry: Where have you been? You’ve led us a merry dance — we’ve been looking all over for you!
See also: dance, lead, somebody
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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