ride a tiger

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ride a tiger

To become or find oneself responsible for something risky, precarious, or unsafe to abandon; to do something that is safer to continue than it is to quit. It has now become obvious that our country has been riding a tiger with our military intervention in this region—it was foolish to get involved, but it would be catastrophic to leave now.
See also: ride, tiger
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

ride a tiger

take on a responsibility or embark on a course of action which subsequently cannot safely be abandoned.
The expression comes from the Chinese proverb ‘He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount’.
1940 Daily Progress (USA) I believe that Hitler is riding a tiger in trying to keep all Europe under control by sheer force.
See also: ride, tiger
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

ride a tiger

To find yourself in a precarious situation. The phrase comes from “He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.” Which is to say, once you find yourself in a dangerous circumstance, getting out of it can be even more potentially hazardous, whether to your health or your career.
See also: ride, tiger
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
Their lordships having ridden the tiger of lawyerly opinion now find that they cannot get off its back.