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big tent

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.
See also: big, tent

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

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.
See also: fold, tent

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

tent out

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.
See also: out, tent

morning tent

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!
See also: morning, tent

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.
See also: pitch, tent

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.
See also: pitch, tent

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."
See also: fold, tent

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.
See also: big, tent

tent out

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.
See also: out, tent

make a mountain

and 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.
See also: make, mountain

pitch a tent

See also: pitch, tent

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
References in classic literature ?
the handkerchiefs became tiny tents, and as the travelers looked at them the tents grew bigger and bigger until in a few minutes each one was large enough to contain the entire party.
It was two hours later that the flaps at the front of the tent separated silently and gave entrance to a dark-robed figure, which passed noiselessly from the darkness without to the darkness within.
Out into the village ran the chief, calling in angry tones to the sleepy Arabs, who tumbled from their tents in answer to his voice.
A noise at the tent door behind him brought his head quickly about and away from the girl.
Outside the tent she again heard the noise that had distracted Rokoff's attention.
Nothing; and indeed I am mad to trouble you with such things, when your coming to my tent at such an hour announces that you are the bearers of important news.
Lord Winter's tent was pitched by the side of the royal marquee, a kind of corridor communicating between the two.
All the draf' was out av their tents watchin' Barney bein' pegged.
The men wint back into the tents like jackals, an' the rest av the night there was no noise at all excipt the stip av the sinthry over the two, an' Scrub Greene blubberin' like a child.
On hands and knees he followed her out of the tent by the way she had come.
About noon they came to a DOUAR of about twenty tents.
At the end of a walk of about ten minutes among the tents and posts, which were closer together near the headquarters, Monk entered upon a little causeway which diverged into three branches.
Monk approached the causeway behind which had disappeared the person he had taken for Digby, and met a patrol who, making the tour of the tents, was going towards headquarters; he was stopped with his companion, gave the password, and went on.
Notwithstanding this warning Ned stuck his head out of the tent.
He stepped from his tent and almost pushed the strangers about in the direction of the gates.