tiger by the tail

a tiger by the tail

Something or some situation that is too risky, overwhelming, or unsafe to abandon; that which is safer to continue than to quit. It is becoming increasingly obvious that we have caught a tiger by the tail with our military intervention in this region—it was foolish to get involved, but it would be catastrophic to leave now. I wouldn't go down the road of high-risk investments like those—you might end up with a tiger by the tail.
See also: by, tail, tiger
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

tiger by the tail

Something too difficult to manage or cope with, as in You know nothing about the commodities market; you'll end up catching a tiger by the tail . This colorful metaphor conjures up the image of grabbing a powerful but fierce animal by the tail, only to have it turn on one. [Second half of 1900s]
See also: by, tail, tiger
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.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
If these ore-grade zones continue further down dip and along strike for another 200-300m, we'll have a real tiger by the tail.
After Bangladesh's defeat, some Indian fans teased the opposing supporters by singing 'Tiger by the Tail' a song by Sara Evans, an American country music singer.
And as for his own situation, he added: "I've got this cancer tiger by the tail.
by Times News ServiceAs temperatures in many parts of Oman soar to 40 degrees Celsius and above, Jaison Mathai, of Tiger By The Tail has asked people to extend compassion to animals as well.
Kibe is one courageous patriotic Kenyan rising above pettiness and willing to take the tiger by the tail. He is above malice and that is why he made the announcement in the presence of former President Kibaki, Kalonzo, George Muhoho and others.
It may seem a bit like you've got a tiger by the tail at times this week, but it should all be worth it.
Louisiana lawmakers grabbed a tiger by the tail when they passed a bill "exempting certain persons from the requirements of the big exotic cat rules." Specifically, it allows the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop outside Baton Rouge to keep his 14-year-old Bengal tiger, Tony, as a roadside attraction.
"We expect that business to double again this year." says Cousin "We've got a tiger by the tail".
It certainly looks good, but when you unleash the 280ps of power lurking under the bonnet you know that you have a tiger by the tail, but a tiger that is helped to stay on track by some impressive technology.
It certainly looks good but when you unleash the 280ps of power, you know that you have a tiger by the tail, a beast helped to stay on track by impressive technology.
It certainly looks good but when you unleash the 280PS of power lurking under the bonnet you know that you have a tiger by the tail, but a tiger that is helped to stay on track by some impressive technology.
So, Sheffield Tigers will try to crash the Stourton party finding its them who have a tiger by the tail and facing a club galvanised by earlier events.
Tiger By the Tail follows Mike Harmon and his Keldara team from Hong Kong to Thailand and beyond as they find themselves chasing pirates for fun until classified materials revealing a top-secret technology are found among the loot.
We covered this story wall-to-wall and knew we had a "tiger by the tail."
The research does not nix the theory - called the morphogen theory - but science may now have a hypothetical tiger by the tail as they try to figure out this aspect of how Nature works.