put the cat among the pigeons

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put the cat among the pigeons

To do or say something that is likely to cause alarm, controversy, or unrest among a lot of people. Primarily heard in UK. The prime minister's casual remarks about the role of ethnicity in unemployment numbers has predictably put the cat among the pigeons on both sides of the political spectrum. We didn't want to put the cat among the pigeons, so we decided not to mention the bomb threat until we knew for certain that it was legitimate.
See also: among, cat, pigeon, put
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

put the cat among the pigeons

or

set the cat among the pigeons

BRITISH
If a remark or action puts the cat among the pigeons or sets the cat among the pigeons, it causes trouble, worry or anger. The bank is poised to put the cat among the pigeons this morning by slashing the cost of borrowing. Once again she set the cat among the pigeons, claiming that Michael was lying.
See also: among, cat, pigeon, put
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

put (or set) the cat among the pigeons

say or do something that is likely to cause trouble or controversy. British
This expression was first recorded in J. Stevens 's New Spanish and English Dictionary ( 1706 ), where it is explained as referring to a man coming into the company of a group of women. The idiom flutter the dovecotes (see flutter) is based on the same idea of a group of pigeons as a tranquil or harmless community.
1998 New Scientist The…study has firmly put the cat among the pigeons by claiming that most of the therapeutic effects of expensive antidepressant pills…can be mimicked by dummy pills.
See also: among, cat, pigeon, put
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

put/set the cat among the ˈpigeons

(British English, informal) do something that is likely to cause trouble: She told all the staff they would have to cancel their holidays, and that really set the cat among the pigeons.
See also: among, cat, pigeon, put, set
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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