put your finger in the dyke

put (one's) finger in the dyke

To make a small effort or action to mitigate the damage or spread of something unpleasant, undesirable, or dangerous. There appears to be a huge cash flow problem. It's not just a matter of putting our fingers in the dyke; we'll need to completely overhaul our monthly expenses to keep us from going bankrupt. We can't just keep putting our fingers in the dyke every time there's a security breach like this; we need to figure out how hackers keep getting into the system.
See also: dyke, finger, put

put your finger in the dyke

attempt to stem the advance of something undesirable which threatens to overwhelm you. informal
This expression stems from the story of a small Dutch boy who saved his community from flooding by placing his finger in a hole in a dyke.
See also: dyke, finger, put
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