rock the boat, to

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rock the boat

To do or say something that might endanger a stable situation or upset the status quo. None of my family members are fighting with each other right now, so please don't rock the boat by bringing up politics or any other controversial topics. Many people feel the newspaper is too soft on the government and never rocks the boat when asking questions directly to the politicians.
See also: boat, rock
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rock the boat

 
1. Lit. to do something to move a boat from side to side, causing it to rock. (Often in a negative sense.) Sit down and stop rocking the boat. You'll turn it over!
2. Fig. to cause trouble where none is welcome; to disturb a situation that is otherwise stable and satisfactory. (Often negative.) Look, Tom, everything is going fine here. Don't rock the boat! You can depend on Tom to mess things up by rocking the boat.
See also: boat, rock
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

rock the boat

Disturb a stable situation, as in An easygoing manager, he won't rock the boat unless it's absolutely necessary. This idiom alludes to capsizing a small vessel, such as a canoe, by moving about in it too violently. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
See also: boat, rock
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.

rock the boat

COMMON If someone rocks the boat, they do something which causes trouble or problems in a stable situation. He was careful not to rock the boat with any criticism. Diplomats are expecting so much instability after his death that they argue it's unwise to rock the boat now. Note: You can also talk about boat-rocking. I'm sometimes critical of the organization, which is seen as boat-rocking, upsetting a comfortable arrangement.
See also: boat, rock
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

rock the boat

say or do something to disturb an existing situation and upset other people. informal
1999 Times The six candidates are so determined not to rock the boat that they are in danger of saying nothing of interest.
See also: boat, rock
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rock the ˈboat

(informal) do something that might upset somebody/something, cause problems or change the balance of a situation in some way: Politicians who are prepared to rock the boat are popular with newspapers but not with their parties.
See also: boat, rock
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rock the boat

To disturb the balance or routine of a situation: He has an easygoing managerial style and won't rock the boat unless absolutely necessary.
See also: boat, rock
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rock the boat, to

To disturb a stable situation. The analogy here is to capsizing a small craft, such as a canoe, by moving about carelessly. Current on both sides of the Atlantic since the 1920s, it became the title of a song, “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” in the popular musical comedy Guys and Dolls (1950) by Frank Loesser. The song, performed on Broadway by Stubby Kaye in the role of Nicely-Nicely, was a consistent showstopper and did much to popularize the term.
See also: rock
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
'El-Rufai is just testing the waters and flying 2023 kite for his ambition and, therefore, wants to rock the boat. Nigerians should not listen to him.
But contemptible Mrs May, who relies on the support of 10 reactionary Democratic Unionist MPs, does not want to rock the boat.
Speaking on ITV's Loose Women, Baroness Brady said: "I think there's an issue that women have this fear factor where they don't have the confidence to ask, and they are sort of grateful for the job and do not want to rock the boat.
TAX CAUTION CALL One of the country's leading think-tanks has urged the Government not to rock the boat of economic recovery with tax cuts.
It's time for police and social services to rock the boat.
"Prodution is according with our international commitment, in particular our Opec commitment, and in the meanwhile we don't want to rock the boat of the market."- Reuters
"We don't want to rock the boat, just leave things as they are for the time being," he said.
I don't think any Government would want to rock the boat by denying pensioners their free bus travel and it should certainly not be means-tested.
"But I made it clear to the chairman that I in no way want to rock the boat and that if a suitable offer doesn't come in for me, I'll be more than happy to knuckle down, fight for my place and try and get this club back in the top flight.
Ince said: "Roque is not one to rock the boat - if that was the case he would have gone before the start of the season.
FRUSTRATED goalkeeper Paul Straney has vowed not to rock the boat as Cliftonville chase a League and Cup double, but he has conceded: "It's unlikely I'll be here next season."
And the straight 44-year-old from Cincinnati is not afraid to rock the boat by taking a stand on controversial issues--including vocal support for marriage equality.
Unfortunately, no one wants to rock the boat enough to admit the culture that put them in power is corrupt and a new one is necessary to refocus the enterprise and reward those who actually do the work, not just those who take credit for it.