upset the applecart, to

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upset the applecart

To ruin or interfere with one's plans or goals. Look, he's not trying to upset the applecart—he just needs to meet later in the day now, that's all.
See also: applecart, upset
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

upset the applecart

Spoil carefully laid plans, as in Now don't upset the applecart by revealing where we're going. This expression started out as upset the cart, used since Roman times to mean "spoil everything." The precise idiom dates from the late 1700s.
See also: applecart, upset
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.

upset the applecart

If someone or something upsets the applecart, they do something which causes trouble or which spoils a satisfactory situation. It will only upset the applecart and confuse the issue if the topic is raised too soon. Note: You can also say that someone or something overturns the applecart. She still has the power to overturn the applecart by the sheer force of her personality and vocabulary.
See also: applecart, upset
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

upset the applecart, to

To ruin carefully laid plans. This metaphor, without the modifying “apple,” dates from Roman times. Both Plautus and Lucian used “You’ve upset the cart” to mean “You’ve spoiled everything.” Specifying “applecart” dates from the late eighteenth century, and the changed phrase is the one that survives. Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796) suggests that “applecart” stood for the human body, and that the phrase meant to throw a person down, but that interpretation was either mistaken or the particular symbolism died out.
See also: upset
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
But with cash for transfers set to be tight and many positives, both on and off the field in place, Cooper insists he won't be looking to upset the applecart as his plans for the new term take shape.
But it's a good one, it's a former club and with Debbie's whole family being Middlesbrough supporters, we'll just have to upset the applecart, won't we?"
Running neck-and-neck alongside mare Poetry, Pari kicked up speed in home stretch to edge the challenger by head to upset the applecart as favourite colt Big Foot had to be content with third place.
But where are the signs he's able to upset the applecart in Mount Florida and lead a much-needed coup?
'I warn you against complacency because the desperation of the opposition to upset the applecart is unimaginable.
But McDonagh (16-4, 8 KOs) has vowed to upset the applecart against a man who was comprehensively outpointed by Groves on all three scorecards seven months ago.
Flawless Jewel could be one to upset the applecart, although quite what value should be ascribed to her free-wheeling 16-length win in an uncompetitive race at Pontefract last month is anyone's guess.
You can't know what's in the future and what might come along to upset the applecart, and that's true of established relationships as well as new ones.
David Wagner's men kick off as William Hill's 6/4 favourites to secure a maximum haul with the Owls quoted at a lengthy-looking 2/1 (Betfred) to upset the applecart by winning.
1 MERTHYR produced a five-star Southern League Premier fightback against a Hitchin side, who looked on course to upset the applecart in the opening 35 minutes.
Mr Jones wasn't afraid to upset the applecart if he believed in something.
Not wanting to upset the applecart, Joanna Gruesome met in anger management.
"We do have the capability to upset the applecart."
United stars Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton know exactly what it's like to upset the applecart at Old Trafford after their exploits with Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City.
The lasting friendship of Robert (Welsh, but known to his pal as Roberto) and Freddo (Italian) is sympathetically described, as is the less attractive character of Reg, a budding wide-boy evacuee from London, who does all he can to upset the applecart of Italian-Welsh relations, whilst managing to ingratiate himself with Robert's family.