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a camel's nose (under the tent)
A small, seemingly innocuous act or decision that will lead to much larger, more serious, and less desirable consequences down the line. The term refers to an alleged Arab proverb that if a camel is allowed to get its nose inside of a tent, it will be impossible to prevent the rest of it from entering. Some regard legalizing same-sex marriage as a camel's nose under the tent, eventually leading to the destruction of marriage altogether. Not hiring an exterminator at the first sign of termites has proved to be a camel's nose, as much of our woodwork is now destroyed.
See also: nose
1. noun A group, movement, or philosophy that appeals or caters to, or encompasses, the broadest and most diverse amount of members possible. We pride our church on being something of a big tent, welcoming any and all who wish to join us. The party is trying to establish itself as a big tent, broadening its aims to appeal to the widest amount of voters possible.
2. adjective Appealing or catering to, or encompassing, the broadest and most diverse amount of members possible. Often hyphenated. In my opinion, their big-tent politics, while reaching more people, dilute the potency of their goals.
fold (up) (one's) tent
To quit, withdraw, or disengage (from something), especially quietly or discreetly. After allegations of embezzlement, the CEO decided to fold his tent and take an early retirement. You're going to have a lot of setbacks in life, so don't just fold up your tent and go home at the first sign of failure.
slang An involuntary erection that a man achieves during sleep and retains upon awakening. An allusion to the involuntary erection pushing the bedsheets upward into a "tent." I rolled over to snuggle my boyfriend, only to bump off of his morning tent. I hate waking up with both a morning tent and an urgent need to pee!
pitch a tent
slang To have an erection while lying naked beneath a sheet, such that the sheet rises like a tent away from one's torso. My husband is always pitching a tent first thing in the morning. Just watching her lying next to me in bed was enough to make me pitch a tent.
To sleep in a tent outside. The kids love tenting out during the summer. After two weeks of tenting out in the wilderness, it's nice to be sleeping in my own bed again.
Were you born in a tent?
Have you no basic manners? (Usually said after someone has left open a door to the outside.) Shut the door, it's freezing outside! Were you born in a tent?
See also: born
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pitch a tent
to erect a tent at a campsite. The campers pitched their tent in a clearing in the woods. I pitched my tent next to a large oak tree.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
fold one's tent
Quietly depart, as in It's late, so let's fold our tents. This term is a partial quotation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Day is Done" (1844): "And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And quietly steal away."
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a big tent
A big tent is a group such as a political party that includes people with a wide range of opinions. They argue that the party should be a big tent, whose only qualification for membership should be a common belief in lower taxes and smaller government.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
1. To sleep outdoors in a tent: We tented out in Acadia National Park.
2. To be extended outwards by a prop so as to create a cavity underneath. Used of a layer or sheet of material: The wallpaper is tenting out because of a loose nail.
3. To push out some layer or sheet of material so as to create a cavity underneath: A loose spring in the cushion is tenting the fabric out. We used ski poles to tent out the sides of the tarp.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
make a mountainand pitch a tent
n. to have a morning erection that raises the covers; to have an erection that makes a bulge in one’s clothing; to get an erection. Bobby makes a mountain almost every morning. When I was in the hospital, I was afraid I would pitch a tent in the morning.
pitch a tentverb
See make a mountain
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
fold our tents, (let us)
Quietly depart, go home. This term comes from Longfellow’s poem “The Day Is Done” (1844): “And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.” Today it is often used jocularly, as in “Come on, it’s after eleven. Time to fold our tents.”
See also: fold
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer